Long-time country music legend Stonewall Jackson reportedly passed away in the early hours of Saturday (December 4th) less than a month after turning 89 years old.
According to News 4 Nashville, the family of Stonewall Jackson confirmed that the now-late country singer passed away after a long battle with vascular dementia. He was married to his wife, Juanita, until her death from Alzheimer’s Disease in 2019. She was his personal manager and even operated the country singer’s publishing company, Turp Tunes. The couple shared a son, Stonewall Jackson Jr., who is also a country singer.
Born in Tabor City, North Carolina on November 6, 1932, Stonewall Jackson first hit the country music scene during the “golden” honky-tonk era, which took place in the 1950s and early 1960s. According to Wide Open Country, he came the first artist without an actual recording contract to the Grand Ole Opry. He also toured with his honky-tonk mentor, Ernest Tubb, before he landed his record deal with Columbia Record in 1958.
Jackson’s Life to Go became a top 10 hit in 1958. That following year, he released Waterloo, which notably became his signature song. He had a total of 35 Top 40 country hits from 1958 to 1971. Song of the hits was B.J. the D.J.; Me and You and a Dog Named Boo; Why I’m Walking’; A Wound Time Can’t Erase; Leona; and Old Showboat.
Country Now reports that tonight’s performance of the Grand Ole Opry will be dedicated in Stonewall Jackson’s honor. The venue also took to Twitter to pay tribute to the late singer.
Stonewall Jackson’s ‘Waterloo’ Was Awarded a Gold Disc After Selling Over One Million Copies
Following the release of his hit sing Waterloo in 1959, the single stayed at No. 1 for a total of five weeks. It then crossed over into the Top 40 of Billboard Hot 100 chart and it peaked at No. 4. The single also reached No. 24 in the UK Singles Chart in July of that year. The single eventually sold more than 100 million copies and received a gold disc.
Along with his music, Stonewall Jackson was notably famous for walking into Nashville publishing company, Acuff-Rose, just to “see if anybody in country music would talk to” him. He also previously recalled how his songs earned him a meeting with the founder of the Grand Ole Opry, George D. Hay, and the manager of that time, W.D. Kilpatrick. “They took me down the hall and signed me to a regular member’s contract… I’ve been here ever since.”
Stonewall Jackson is also credited with the first “live” album recorded at the Ryman Auditorium. This was with his Recorded Live at the Grand Ole Opry album in 1971.