Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Alan Jackson, “Tall, Tall Trees”

“Tall, Tall Trees

Alan Jackson

Written by George Jones and Roger Miller

Billboard

#1 (2 weeks)

December 9 – December 16, 1995

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

November 24, 1995

Alan Jackson tops golden era Jones and Miller.

The Road to No. 1

After “I Don’t Even Know Your Name” went No. 1, Jackson prepared The Greatest Hits Collection, which included three new singles: a brand new song, a revived album cut from his Arista debut, and a cover of a George Jones-Roger Miller co-write that both artists recorded during their golden eras.  This cover was chosen for the first single.

The No. 1

1965 George Jones and 1970 Roger Miller are pretty damn high bars to clear.  With his cover of “Tall, Tall Trees,” Jackson clears that bar as effortlessly as if it was underground.

His arrangement is far more heavily influenced by the Miller recording, but there are elements of the Jones record here as well.

What’s crazy is this: he pulls off the song’s wordplay and idiosyncratic rhythms better than Roger Miller did, and he gives a stronger vocal performance than George Jones did.

This is Jackson at the peak of his power, identifying a gem from the catalogs of two Hall of Fame legends, and making it a classic hit that’s all his own.

The Road From No. 1

The only brand new composition on the hits collection is up next. We’ll cover it in early 1996.

“Tall, Tall Trees” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Clay Walker, “Who Needs You Baby” |

Next: Alabama, “In Pictures”

4 Comments

  1. Just the fact that a George Jones and Roger Miller cover could still reach the top of the charts is one more reason why I love the 90’s! Actually, it wasn’t until reading the liner notes of Alan’s Greatest Hits Collection in 1998 that I found out it was a cover and not a Jackson original.

    I love everything about this song, and it’s just so much fun from beginning to end! I love how the accordion is featured here, along with the usual heavy doses of fiddle and steel. Even that ultra twangy guitar in the instrumental break is so good and hits me with a lot of mid 90’s nostalgia. Alan’s joyful performance always puts a smile on my face, as well, and I even love how he delivers the spoken parts. Definitely one of my favorites of AJ’s upbeat songs!

    Just like Clay Walker’s “Who Needs You Baby,” this is another song that brings back great memories from early 1996. I heard this one on more than one occasion while I was playing Doom on the computer at home after school from my step dad’s tiny radio on his desk as he worked from home. Even while playing the game, this is one of the songs that always caught my ear. At the time, I just labeled it as the Tall Tall song, and I remember my step dad laughing when I said that, lol. The thing is, I didn’t even know he was saying tall tall TREES, at first, and thought he was saying something like tall tall treathen (whatever the heck that meant, lol).

    This song also brings back great memories from fourth grade, and I would finally come to understand what Alan was saying when later my teacher used this song as an example on how people sometimes exaggerate when talking. She even sang the main line of the song out to the class: “I’ll buy you tall tall trees and all the water in the seas!” after asking if any of us had heard it before. Being that she was such a huge fan of country music, she often referred many other country songs to help get her point across to the class. One time, she even referenced the title of The Mavericks’ “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” (another one of my favorite fun songs during that time) as a way to express her disappointment in some of the students (“What A Crying Shame” was referenced by her in a similar way, as well), lol. As I had mentioned before, she was the only teacher I ever had that made it feel like it was okay and cool to like country music, and it seemed to rub off on some of my classmates at the time, as well. I even eventually found out that Bobby, who was the class clown and one of my friends, liked country music when he showed up one day wearing an Alan Jackson shirt. :)

    I remember always enjoying this song’s video whenever I had GAC on, as well. The part that always made me laugh, and still does today, is at the end after the lady rejected all the offers from the other guys, the little boy comes along to offer her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which she accepts. Even more funny is when Alan just slowly walks across the set after the song is finished, looks around, picks up the sandwich, and starts eating the rest it, lol! For some reason, that always makes me burst out laughing, lol. A cool fun fact about this clip: I eventually realized later on that the blonde lady is actress Monica Potter, who appeared in films such as 1997’s Con Air (with Nicholas Cage), 1998’s Patch Adams (with Robin Williams), and 2001’s Along Came A Spider (with Morgan Freeman).

    1
    • I love this story!

      I’ve been thinking a lot since the Naomi Judd news of the Christmas that I got their Greatest Hits CD and listened to it on a loop while I played through Super Mario World.

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      • Thanks, Kevin!

        It’s so cool to know I’m not the only one who’s listened to country music and played video/computer games at the same time. :) I actually really got into the Mario games in late 1995 when my cousins let me play their games while we were seeing my mom’s side of the family for the holidays that year. Besides my step dad introducing me to Doom and other computer games, I also have them to thank for starting my addiction to video games throughout the 90’s (to my mom’s dismay, lol). :)

  2. Jackson continues to pull away from the pack, brilliantly bridging the past and the future of country music.

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