Introduction to Stonewall Jackson
Stonewall Jackson is an American country/honky-tonk/folk singer and musician who was particularly known during the late 50s and early 60s. His music career started in 1956 when he first appeared at the Grand Ole Opry; he eventually would become one of the fixtures of the famous country music event for the last 50 years. He released his first single was “Life To Go” from his debut album The Dynamic Stonewall Jackson which did well on the country charts. The follow-up single, “Waterloo,” was Jackson’s first #1 country hit single. His other #1 country smash is “B.J. The D.J.” in 1964. In his long music career Jackson has amassed thirty-five Top 40 country hit singles. He is considered one of the influential musicians particularly in the country music world.
Early life and career
One of best-known country and honky-tonk singers of the 1950s and the 1960s, Stonewall Jackson was born in Tabor City, North Carolina on November 6, 1932 but later spent his formative years in Georgia. Stonewall Jackson was not a stage name; in truth, it was the name that appeared on his birth certificate. He was named after the Civil War general, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, whom the later-generation Stonewall is a descendant, according to family legend.
Stonewall Jackson grew up in a poor family and had a difficult, abusive upbringing, and so the only solace he could find was music. When Stonewall was ten, he traded his bike for a guitar, and about the same time he started to write songs. His mere musical hobby had turned into a serious business by the mid-1950s, where he began to sing professionally.
Joining the Grand Ole Opry
In 1956 Jackson joined the prestigious Grand Ole Opry even before obtaining his first recording contract. He was backed by Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours; Tubb also became the budding country star’s inspiration. His recording debut came in later in 1958 when he signed with Columbia; while his debut single “Don’t Be Angry” (which he also wrote) didn’t reach the country charts, it otherwise got him noticed.
Successful recording career
His breakthrough country hit arrived in a year later when he released a George Jones-penned single “Life to Go,” which also appeared on his debut album The Dynamic Stonewall Jackson. The single reached #2 on the country singles chart.
It was followed very much later with his debut album’s third single “Waterloo” which was written by John D. Loudermilk and Marijohn Wilkin. The single became another country top 10 hit and also crossed over to the pop charts. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, while it went to #1 on the country singles chart in 1959. The single sold over a million copies and was awarded with a gold disc.
Since then he had scored a string of country hits, among them “Why I’m Walking” (#6 country), “A Wound Time Can’t Erase” (#3 country), “Leona” (#9 country), “Old Showboat” (#8 country), his re-recording of “Don’t Be Angry” (#4 country), “I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water” (#8 country), “Stamp Out Loneliness” (#5 country), his cover of Lobo’s “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” (#7 country), and his second #1 country hit “B.J. the D.J.”
“B.J. the D.J.” was written by another country singer-songwriter Hugh X. Lewis. It tells about an overworked radio disc jockey who encounters a car accident during a rainstorm. It has become one of Jackson’s popular songs. From 1958 to 1971, Jackson had amassed a total of thirty-five Top 40 country smashes. He was also the artist to record a live album from the Grand Ole Opry; the album was titled Old Showboat.
When hits were now behind him, Jackson continued to regularly appear at the Grand Ole Opry. In 2006 he flied a lawsuit against the Grand Ole Opry, citing age discrimination. He claimed that he was sidelined by the event in favor of younger artists. When the suit was finally settled for an undisclosed amount two years later, he was back at the Opry again. At now 81 years old as of this writing, he is still active performing up to this day.