Back in 2001, Alan Jackson scored a No. 1 hit with “Where I Come From”—which music listeners came to affectionately nickname “cornbread and chicken” after one the song’s most memorable lyrics.
Jackson is the sole songwriter on the track, and in a recent interview with radio personality Bobby Bones, Jackson revealed that at first, his wife Denise wasn’t a fan of the song.
“My wife’s a pretty good board to bounce [song ideas] off of, and I think I just feel like I know when gut instinct tells me when it’s a pretty good song and I’m not always right and I’ve written a lot of things that I realize was not top shelf,” Jackson said, later adding, “I wrote this song that she told me was stupid and it went on to be a No. 1 hit, so you never know.”
The song topped the Billboard Country Airplay chart the week of Oct. 13, 2001.
On May 14, Jackson will release his first album in six years, with Where Have You Gone. The album includes two tracks, “You’ll Always Be My Baby” and “I Do,” which Jackson penned for his daughters’ weddings.
“My oldest daughter Mattie was the first to get married, three or four years ago now,” Jackson recalls. “She wanted me to write a song for the father-daughter dance…so I wrote that. I told all three of my girls, I said, ’I wrote these for the father-daughter dance and I’m not going to write one for every wedding, so you all three of you have gotta use this,'” he says with a chuckle. “So far, I’ve used it twice.”
With 35 No. 1 hits to date, that makes it hard for Jackson to sing every hit within the space of one concert.
“Over the years, I try to bounce it back and forth to the audience to figure out which ones I feel like that they respond well to, and also which songs fit well together in a couple of hours,” he says. “It’s tough. I’ve had 50 or 60 singles or so, and I couldn’t remember them all if you asked me.
“It makes me feel really bad sometimes, because I’ll see a fan out there holding up a sign with a particular song from 20 years ago that I haven’t sung in a long time and I couldn’t do it, but sometimes they’ll hold something up and I can remember enough to sing the chorus or something for them and that’s fun to do. I try to pick the ones that have impacted the most people and that I enjoy as well.”
Of course, “Where I Come From” has long been a staple in Jackson’s setlist.