In November 1994, Alan Jackson released his third single, “Gone Country,” off his fourth studio album, Who I Am. The song was well-received, just like the first two, “Summertime Blues” and “Livin’ on Love,” earning the top position on the Hot Country Songs chart for a week. It also nabbed a runner-up position on the Canada Country Tracks and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.
According to Deborah Evans Price of Billboard magazine, it was the most talked about country track of the year and deserved the attention it got. She described the song as a musically kickass “ode to all the carpetbaggers flowing into Music City.”
Meaning Behind The Song
“Gone Country” was written by Bob McDill, who has a resume of 31 number-one country hits during his active career years from the 1960s until 2000. He was one of Alan Jackson’s favorite writers of all time, and this song, in particular, was a “love at first time hearing it.” The country singer wished he had written it because it said many things he’d like to say.
The song was essentially a commentary on country music. It showcased three examples of singers (a lounge singer in Las Vegas, a folk-rocker in Greenwich Village, and a composer in Los Angeles) who all failed in their careers and ended up dabbling in country music.
While Jackson noted that it was simply a fun song celebrating how country had become a widely accepted genre (even fully embraced by some), some saw the lyrics as a complaint about how fake country got.
Some thought it exposed country music as a genre to “settle in” for singers whose careers never went anywhere. It was as if country was the easy route to get somewhere. As one Redditor pointed out, the lyrics felt like, “I can’t make it in pop music and I’m getting older, so I’ll settle for country, since those idiots will buy anything!”
So, despite the differing perspectives, fans enjoyed the song as a whole. If you’re a new country fan, this is one of the Alan Jackson songs you should listen to. And we’ve got you covered. Tune in to Alan Jackson’s “Gone Country” in the video below.