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15 Years Ago: Alan Jackson Hits No. 1 With ‘Drive (for Daddy Gene)’

Alan Jackson Drive Single Cover
Arista Nashville

Fifteen years ago today (May 25, 2002), Alan Jackson rode to the top of the charts with his single “Drive (for Daddy Gene).” But while the singer was quite used to being in the No. 1 slot by that time — the song was Jackson’s 20th to hit the top of the charts — this particular tune was perhaps one of the most significant of his career.

As its title suggests, “Drive (for Daddy Gene)” — which is from Jackson’s Drive album — was written by the country star for his father, Gene, who passed away in 2000 from an aortic aneurysm. In the tune, Jackson fondly recalls being allowed to drive along with his dad as a little boy: “A young boy, two hands on the wheel / I can’t replace the way it made me feel.”

“I’ve always tried to be careful. If I write something that’s that personal, I try to write them so they aren’t so obvious,” Jackson explains to The Boot. “Even when I wrote the song when my daddy died years ago, that “Drive” song, if you listened to it, you wouldn’t necessarily think it was a song you wrote for your daddy that died. So I’m trying to camouflage. I’ve written heartache songs over the years, too, that have been inspired by my own life, but you’d have to really be close to know it.”

“Drive (for Daddy Gene)” stayed at the top of the charts for an astonishing four weeks, helping the Drive album sell more than 4 million copies. Jackson has included “Drive (for Daddy Gene)” on several of his greatest hits compilations, including Greatest Hits Volume II, The Very Best of Alan Jackson, 34 Number Ones and The Essential Alan Jackson.

“Drive (for Daddy Gene)” is available for download on iTunes.

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