Did you know Alan Jackson’s “Precious Memories” album wasn’t intended to be publicly released? The country music star recorded the album for his family and friends, so he only made 100 CDs as Christmas gifts.
His wife and two of their daughters helped him record one song called “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” as it was only intended for their ears only. However, RCA Label Group Chairman Joe Galante heard the recordings and persuaded the singer-songwriter to release them on the mainstream.
“Precious Memories” Backstory
Creating a gospel music album wasn’t the country music icon’s idea. If you have heard some of Alan Jackson songs, you’ll notice that his style blends traditional and mainstream pop-country sound. Gospel music isn’t part of his music style line, but the multi-awarded performer was persuaded by his mother to make a gospel record.
The coaxing took about 10 years before he finally recorded “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” for his father-in-law’s funeral. When his family heard him singing, they all urged him to create a gospel music album which was not part of his plans.
Don’t get him wrong, Jackson is rooted deeply in his faith. He was never shy about going to church, but he was afraid that a gospel music album like “Precious Memories” can leave his fans confused and get the wrong impression about his musical direction. Still, he went to work because his initial plan is for only his family and friends to hear.
His wife Denise helped him sort through the old Baptist hymnal they have in the house. The couple chose the song they remembered and like best growing up in Newnan, Georgia. From 30, they narrowed it down to 15 and kept everything original when they recorded them. This decision of sticking to the standard gave the album a feel of simplicity and purity.
His family and friends loved it, and so does Galante.
From Homemade to Mainstream
We would not have heard Alan Jackson’s Gospel songs on the radio if not for Joe Galante. The chairman of RCA Label Group liked how emotional and intimate the recordings sounded. He said that people seemed to hunger for songs that reinforce faith and give them hope. The chairman even made Jackson’s Arista Nashville labelmate Brad Paisley an example. Paisley recorded a spiritual song, “When I Get Where I’m Going,” which turned into a mega-hit.
Eventually, Alan Jackson‘s “Precious Memories” became his thirteenth studio album. It was released in 2006 and received a Platinum certification from RIAA. Everyone wasn’t surprised when it earned the top spot on Billboard’s Christian Albums and Top Country Albums, proving how Jackson’s additional music style is loved by not only his fans but the religious community as well. Check the video below and tell us if you would agree with us too.