Album Review: Alan Jackson – The Essential Alan Jackson

Originally released in 2010 as 34 Number One Hits, the final project of his career with Arista Records (after 22 years), this album is being re-titled and re-issued as The Essential Alan Jackson. Read on to see what we have to say about this release from Sony/Legacy Recordings.

This album first appeared on the market as “34 Number Ones” (it also contained a couple other songs that were not singles or yet #1 hits upon release). Below is our review of “34 Number One Hits”


34 Number One hits.  Think about that number for a minute.  This is an unheard-of number for any artist in pop or rock circles outside of Elvis and maybe the Beatles yet in country music this doesn’t even get Alan Jackson into the Top five of the artists to have achieved this feat. In fact, Alan’s 8th all-time with names like Dolly Parton, George Strait, Alabama and Conway Twitty ahead of him.  Still, it’s a remarkable figure (these are 34 #1 hits from various charts) that now can include “As She’s Walking Away” on the list as this song, one of the better-written tunes of the Zac Brown Band catalog (and that’s saying something), recently scored the top position on the charts a week or two before this album hit the stores. A duet with the Zac Brown Band, the song could help radio as Alan’s new “Ring of Fire” cover works its way up the charts.  This cover, the lone new tune on the disc outside of the just-mentioned duet, doesn’t have the horns but it works well. 

What’s interesting about 34 Number Ones is that aside from the new songs leading off both of the two discs in this collection is the fact that the songs are ordered from oldest #1 (alan’s fantastic second single “Here In The Real World”) to the most recent solo #1 hit (“Country Boy” from 2008).  Almost every classic Alan Jackson track can be found on these two discs, including tender hits like “Wanted,” “Someday,” “Home,” “Remember When” and “Livin’ On Love.” From the haunting “Midnight In Montgomery” and “Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)” to heart-felt story songs like “Drive (For Daddy Gene),“ “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” and “Small Town Southern Man” to the up-tempo irreverent songs like “Chattahoochee,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” with Jimmy Buffett, “Good Time,” “Who’s Cheatin’ Who,” Gone Country” and “I don’t Even Know Your Name” most of the classic hits are here. 

The new songs do add an added bonus for long-time fans to pick up this collection of tunes but if you’re a fan who owns all of Alan’s albums (including the previous two Greatest Hits Collections) you probably could simply make a playlist that features all of these songs.   If you’re a new fan of Alan Jackson or just a fan of the radio hits then this is the most obvious starting place for Alan fans to go and if his record company Arista/Sony Nashville follows sometime next year with a compilation album featuring the other Top 10 hits of Alan Jackson’s career (something MCA Records did with George Strait after his 50 Number Ones collection) then the average fan will have everything they need to add to 34 Number Ones  to have all the essential Alan Jackson hits in their music collections.


MP3 Album————–2 CD Album