Alan Jackson’s Iconic ’90s Country Hit, “Chattahoochee,” Turns 30 Today

Alan Jackson country music

When you think of the most well known/most recognizable songs in country music history, what’s the first that comes to mind?

One has to be Alan Jackson’s iconic 1993 hit, “Chattahoochee.”

I mean c’mon… from that killer guitar riff to kick off the song, to stackin’ pyramids of cans in the pale moon light, grape snow cones, droppin’ her off early but not going home, everything about the song is ’90s country music perfection.

Hell, I’d even go as far as to say that it’s more than just a catchy country song, “Chattahoochee” is a lifestyle. You don’t have to grow up in Western Georgia, or even know what a Chattahoochee even is to understand the message of the song… and that’s the beauty of it.

All that being said, the song was released 30 years ago today, in 1993.

Written by Alan Jackson and Jim McBride, it was released as the third single from his 1992 A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ’bout Love) album, following up “She’s Got the Rhythm (And I Got the Blues)” and “Tonight I Climbed the Wall.”

In the liner notes for his 1995 compilation album, The Greatest Hits Collection, Alan recalled the genesis of the ’90s country hit:

“Jim McBride and I were trying to write an up-tempo song and Jim came in with the line ‘way down yonder on the Chattahoochee’ and it kind of went from there.

It’s a song about having fun, growing up, and coming of age in a small town – which really applies to anyone across the country, not just by the Chattahoochee. We never thought it would be as big as it’s become.”

Not to mention, the song comes with one of the greatest country music videos of all time, featuring Jackson water skiing in a cowboy hat, the iconic life jacket pattern, and cut up blue jeans, all while rocking his signature ‘stache and mullet… and now, it’s available in HD.


Shop the ’90s Country Collection from Whiskey Riff Shop

And here’s my second favorite Alan Jackson music video…

Alan Jackson Never Thought “Chattahoochee” Would Be A Hit

Safe to say now, Alan Jackson couldn’t have been more wrong about this.

The country legend sat down with his daughter, Mattie Jackson, on her In Joy Life podcast this week to talk about his new Silverbelly Whiskey and the process of creating that, as well as some of his early days in Nashville and how he got into songwriting, among other things.

He told her that he started writing his own songs out of necessity, pretty much, because he knew he couldn’t go to Nashville and just cover other people’s stuff if he was going to have a long and sustainable career.

That led him to talk about one song in particular that we all know and love, “Chattahoochee,” and how he actually never thought it would be a hit.

Needless to say, it ultimately became one of the most iconic 90’s country songs of all-time, and was a mega, massive hit for the Georgia native.

The song was released in May of 1993 as the third single from his A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ’bout Love) album, and received CMA awards for Single of the Year and Song of the Year. It peaked at #1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs chart later in 1993, and the rest, as they say, is glorious country music history.

He told Mattie he never thought it would resonate so widely, because most of the country didn’t know what the “Chattahoochee” even was outside of Georgia:

“A lot of my songs I write out of my life are true experiences, but at the same time, they relate to other people.

An example that surprised me was when Jim McBride and I wrote ‘Chattahoochee’ years ago, just about the river that runs through Georgia that we grew up close to, and it filled the lake that we skied on some anyway.”

He added that he did like the up-tempo, fun nature of the song, but quickly learned that the magic of the song was that everybody has their own version of the “Chattahoochee,” and that concept was really universal:

“And when we cut that, it was a fun, up-tempo thing about coming to age… I thought ‘Well yeah, it’s a fun song and I like it, and people in Georgia are gonna like it, nobody in the rest of the country… rest of the world don’t know what it is or care about it.’

But then I learned right quick that everybody has a Chattahoochee.

It might be called something else, or might not even be a river at all, but the story was something people could relate to in their life, wherever they were from. So you just never know.”

And not only was it a career-defining song for Alan, he created an all-time great music video to go along with it, and what I love most about it is that no one else on the planet could pull of water skiing with jeans on…

Listen to Alan reflect back on the iconic country tune:

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A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock