Where Were You? – Today In Country Music History [VIDEO]
October 28, 2001
Alan Jackson wakes up at 4:00 a.m., inspired to write "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)," a song about healing from terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon the previous month.
Jackson wanted to write a song expressing his thoughts and emotions, but he found it hard to do so for many weeks. "I didn't want to write a patriotic song", he later said. "And I didn't want it to be vengeful, either. But I didn't want to forget about how I felt and how I knew other people felt that day."
Finally, on the Sunday morning of October 28, 2001, Jackson woke at 4 a.m. with the melody, opening lines and chorus going through his mind. He hastily got out of bed, still in his underwear, and sang them into a hand-held recorder so he would not forget them.Later that morning, when his wife and children had gone to Sunday school, he sat down in his study and completed the lyrics.
Initially, Jackson felt squeamish about recording it, much less releasing it, because he disliked the idea of capitalizing on a tragedy. Jackson was scheduled to perform at the Country Music Association's annual awards ceremony on November 7, 2001, to be aired on CBS. Originally, he planned to perform "Where I Come From", which at the time was number 1 hit on the Billboard country charts. But mere days before the awards show, Jackson's manager, Nancy Russell, played a recording of "Where Were You" for four of the CMA's top executives. All four were crying by the time the song ended.
The day before the show, CMT had a brief note on its web site that Jackson would be introducing the new song during the awards telecast. The next night, after an introduction from the show's host, Vince Gill, Jackson performed "Where Were You" seated on a stool, with an orchestra and backing singers behind him. At the conclusion of the five-minute-long song, the audience gave him a standing ovation. This performance, along with the Vince Gill introduction, is used as the song's video.
The next morning, many stations already were playing Jackson's new song after taking it from the broadcast.Several pop-oriented stations, including one in New York, started to play it as well. Based almost entirely on that unsolicited airplay, "Where Were You" debuted at #25 on the Billboard country chart the week ending November 24, 2001.
Garth Brooks’ album In Pieces was certified triple platinum. The album featured the singles "Standing Outside the Fire" (#3), "American Honky-Tonk Bar Association" (#1),"One Night a Day" (#7), "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up)" (#1), "The Red Strokes" (#49) and "Callin' Baton Rouge" (#37).
The album has since been certified 8x platinum in the U.S. and has sold more than 9 million copies world-wide.
2006 – Heartland – "I Loved Her First"
2000 – John Michael Montgomery – “The Little Girl”
1995 – David Lee Murphy - "Dust On The Bottle"
1989 – Alabama – “High Cotton”
1978 – Ronnie Milsap – “Let’s Take The Long Way Around The World”
1972 – Donna Fargo – “Funny Face”
1967 – Tammy Wynette – “I Don’t Wanna To Play House”
1957 – The Everly Brothers – “Wake Up Little Susie”
1950 – Hank Snow – “I’m Movin’ On”
1944 – Red Foley – “Smoke On The Water”
2006 – Jimmy Buffett – Take The Weather With You
2000 – Faith Hill – Breathe
1995 – Reba McEntire – Starting Over
1978 – Dolly Parton – Heartbreaker
1972 – Charley Pride – A Sunshiny Day
1967 – Buck Owens – Your Tender Loving Care