Before having his breakthrough hit, American country music artist Stonewall Jackson was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. His appearance in the country music event in 1956 signified the commencement of his music career. The honky-tonk star’s first singles performed well on the country charts. However, his follow-up release, “Waterloo,” outperformed the first two becoming his first No. 1 single on the country chart. In addition, the song was also a hit on the pop charts peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The million copies that the song sold amplified its success and eventually led to its gold disc award.

The Waterloo of Three Famous People

Written by John D. Loudermilk and Marijohn Wilkin, “Waterloo” tells a universal truth about meeting one’s fate at a certain time and place. Specifically, it mentions three famous people who met their Waterloo because of their actions. The first was Adam. Surely, everybody knows his Biblical story. When he ate what he was forbidden to eat, he met his Waterloo. That also became a metaphorical indication of men’s failure. Next is Napoleon Bonaparte or better known as Napoleon I. He is one of the most influential figures in history despite his diminutive structure. Though after establishing an empire, Napoleon met his fate at the Battle of Waterloo. Wellington and his cronies defeated him at the namesake battle on June 18, 1815. The last guy mentioned by Jackson in his song was Tom Dooley. He was a young Confederate soldier who has survived many battles. However, Dooley met his Waterloo when the authorities hang him for murdering Laura Foster.

At the end of the chorus, it says, “Everybody has to meet his Waterloo.” In other words, it means everybody has to meet his or her fate someday.

Additional Trivia

Stonewall Jackson was named after the Civil War general, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Hence, it’s not just the singer’s stage name but his actual one.

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