Stonewall Jackson, country singer and veteran Grand Ole Opry Member known for his now classic hit “Waterloo,” died Saturday at age 89.
Jackson died early Saturday of complications from vascular dementia, according to an Opry statement.
Jackson, a classic country performer who scored songs in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, built his 65-year career on the number one hits “Waterloo” and “BJ The DJ,” as well as “A Wound Time Can ‘. t Erase “. , “Don’t Be Angry” and his 1958 debut single “Life To Go”, written by a young George Jones.
Jackson was born on November 6, 1932, in Tabor City, North Carolina. Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Raised on a farm in South Georgia, Jackson at age 10 swapped his bike for a guitar and began learning songs, according to his biography.
After serving in the United States Navy, he came to Nashville in 1956 and knocked on top publisher Acuff-Rose’s door in hopes of starting a career in country music.
“I came to town, stopped at a little motel on the south side of town, and checked in,” Jackson once said, according to the Grand Ole Opry. Across the street were the Acuff-Rose offices.
He added, “I said, I think I’ll go there and see if anyone in country music talks to me.”
He signed with publisher Wesley Rose and began climbing the ranks of country music, becoming a member of Opry on November 3, 1956, months before signing a record deal with Columbia. According to the Opry, Jackson worked shipping for the institution before his career took off, including shifts shipping souvenir books from the basement of the National Life Building.
However, I wouldn’t be shipping collectibles for long. Jackson’s career took off in the late 1950s with “Life To Go” and “Waterloo,” the latter of which spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard country chart. The song remains Jackson’s best known, giving listeners a haunting tale of three historical men, the biblical figure Adam, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Tom Dooley, who “met (their) Waterloo,” a nod to death. The song became a crossover hit for Jackson, entering the top five on the charts.
In “Waterloo” he sang: “Everyone has to pay / Everyone has to do their Waterloo.”
Jackson continued on the song charts throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, including “I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water”, “Why I’m Walkin ‘”, “Stamp Out Loneliness” and a cover from “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo.”
Jackson performed regularly on the Opry throughout his career; in 2006 he sued the long-standing program for age discrimination, according to Associated Press. The Opry denied Jackson’s claims and settled the dispute out of court in 2008, the AP reported.
Jackson was the last living soloist to be inducted into the Opry in the 1950s. Country Music Hall of Famer “Whisperin ‘” Bill Anderson holds the title of longest-serving member of the Opry, and is incorporated in 1961. The Opry dedicated the Saturday night performance to Jackson.
“Saddened to learn of the loss of one of Honky Tonk’s heroes of the ’50s and’ 60s, Grand Ole Opry member STONEWALL JACKSON went home today,” follows Opry members, the Oak Ridge Boys shared on Saturday via Twitter. “Rest easy sir !!”
He lived for decades in Brentwood, in a compound that Jackson coined “Lake Waterloo”.
Jackson is preceded in death by his wife and business manager, Juanita Wair Jackson, who passed away in 2019. Funeral arrangements are pending.
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