Stonewall Jackson, Legendary Country Singer, Dead at 89

Country music legend Stonewall Jackson died Saturday morning in Nashville after a battle with vascular dementia, a family member told WSMV. He was 89. Jackson recorded many of his hits during the genre's honky-tonk era of the 1950s and 1960s. His most successful singles include "Waterloo," "B.J. The D.J.," "I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water," and "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo." He was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 65 years, making him the longest-tenured member.

Jackson was born on Nov. 6, 1932, in Tabor City, North Carolina. He moved to Nashville in 1956 after he was discharged from the Navy. He sent a demo tape to Acuff-Rose Music president Wesley Rose, who helped him become the first artist to join the Grand Ole Opry before getting a recording contract. Jackson didn't sign with a label until 1958 when he joined the Columbia Records label. His first Top 40 county hit was "Life to Go," written by George Jones.

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(Photo: Columbia Records)

The biggest success of Jackson's career was his second single, "Waterloo," written by John D. Loudermilk and Marijohn Wilkin. The song topped the country music chart and was so successful that it reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart. It was the only Top 40 single in Jackson's career outside the country charts. Jackson's only other number one song on the Billboard country chart was "B.J. the D.J.," a 1964 song written by Hugh X. Lewis.

Jackson's last Top 40 country single was 1971's "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo." The song was written by Lobo, who recorded it months before Jackson did. The Jackson take on the song reached number seven on Billboard's country songs chart. Jackson's last single to chart on Billboard was "Herman Schwartz" in 1973. Overall, 44 of his singles reached the Billboard country chart.

Jackson made headlines in 2008 when he settled a federal age discrimination lawsuit against the Grand Ole Opry, reports the Associated Press. He accused Opry officials of cutting down his appearances on the historic show in 1998 and sought $10 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. Terms of the settlement were never made public. Jackson retired from performing in 2012. His last public performance was at Jones' funeral.

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Jackson is survived by his son, Stonewall Jackson Jr., who lives in Nashville. Jackson lived in Brentwood, Tennessee with his wife Juanita, who died in 2019 from Alzheimer's Disease. Saturday night's Opry show was dedicated to Jackson's memory.