“Chattahoochee” Songwriter Explains What He Meant By “Hotter Than A Hoochie Coochie” In The Alan Jackson Hit

Alan Jackson country music
Alan Jackson

“Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee…”

It’s one of Alan Jackson‘s best known songs from his storied catalog of hits. Released on his third studio album, A Lot About Livin’ (And A Little ‘Bout Love), “Chattahoochee” not only hit #1 on the country charts, but it also became Alan’s first ever song to enter the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #46.

Along with hits like “Mercury Blues,” “Tonight I Climbed The Wall” and “She’s Got the Rhythm (And I Got The Blues),” “Chattahoochee” propelled the album to the top of the country charts, and it’s since been certified 6x platinum, while also winning Album of the Year at the ACM Awards in 1993.

At this point, it’s safe to say that everybody knows the words to “Chattahoochee.” But not everybody knows what they mean.

Even Waylon Jennings had questions about the song:

“I think Waylon said one time, Waylon Jennings, ‘what the hell is a Chattahoochee?'”

To be fair, unless you grew up near the Alabama/Georgia line, you’d probably have no idea as well. For those of you that don’t know, it’s actually a river that runs across northern Georgia, along the Georgia/Alabama border, and down into Florida.

And the song actually came about because Alan is from Georgia, and songwriter Jim McBride is from Alabama – so he knew Jackson would know the Chattahoochee when he pitched him the idea:

“Alan’s hometown of Newnan is relatively close to the Chattahoochee River, so I knew he would be familiar with it. So I started just fooling with the guitar and I got the first two lines and a little melody…

He spit out the next two lines almost immediately. They just came right out.”

But there’s one line in particular that McBride says fans always ask about:

“We got so many phone calls that Alan got tired of them, and he said, ‘Call Jim.’ So I’m getting phone calls from all over the country wanting to know what a hoochie coochie is.”

I mean, I could take a wild guess, but surely Alan isn’t singing about what I think he’s singing about, right?

Well McBride actually cleared it up for all of us who have been singing the song for 30 years with no idea what it actually meant:

“A county fair strip show.”

That’s a new one for me. But at least I know.

And as it turns out, Alan was actually hesitant to release “Chattahoochee” as a single because he didn’t think anybody would know what the song was about:

“It was surprising to me when they decided to put ‘Chattahoochee’ out, I was reluctant because I said, ‘nobody is gonna know what that is.'”

But according to AJ, Chattahoochee isn’t just a river, it’s a state of mind.

“The regular working people, the professional people, just trying to do the same things… make a living, raise a family, enjoy life…

I learned that there’s a Chattahoochee everywhere.”

AKA, Chattahoochee isn’t just a river or a song… it’s a lifestyle.

If you need some of that lifestyle for yourself, Vinyl Me Please has A Lot About Livin’ (And A Little ‘Bout Love) on this beautiful “Mercury Blue” vinyl – although that blue looks a lot like the water of the Chattahoochee too.

Hotter than a hoochie coochie.


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock