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Story Behind the Song: Alan Jackson, ‘Wanted’

Alan Jackson was still arriving at tour stops in a van and playing in clubs and bars when he penned “Wanted,” from his freshman album, Here in the Real WorldReleased as the third single from Jackson’s first record, “Wanted” became his second consecutive Top 5 hit, and set Jackson on the road to becoming one of the most successful country artists of all times.

While performing in Nashville as part of his Honky-Tonky Highway Tour, Jackson shared the story behind “Wanted” with the large crowd.

I was playing this bar in Pine Bluff, Ark. Back then, we’d play the whole week; we’d play every night, five or six nights, from about seven or eight at night until about two in the morning.

It was our first night there, and I was wore out. I had driven the van. I was kind of peculiar about my van — I wouldn’t let any of my boys drive it. So after I drove the van, set up, did the soundcheck, I went back to the hotel, took a shower, and we did the set. By the time we got through, I had been awake for 43 hours or something like that. But I was young, and I liked Mountain Dew a lot.

I woke up the next day, and it was pouring down rain, and I was in this motel in Pine Bluff, Ark. With nothing to do, I thought I’d try to write a song. I was sitting there with my guitar, kind of strumming around. I had the TV on, and this ol’ John Wayne western was playing. The dude walked into this bar, saw this poster was over his head, and I started singing this chorus, “Wanted.”

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