Americans will never forget the atrocities that happened on the 11th of September, 2001. 17 years later, we still mourn the loss of our loved ones and the fallen heroes who worked tirelessly to save those who were trapped. One man who wanted to pay homage to the victims was the singer-songwriter, Alan Jackson.
Alan Jackson penned the song “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” – a tribute to those who died on 9/11. It was the lead single from his studio album, Drive in 2002.
The lyrics of Jackson’s poignant song are all written in the form of questions. Alan aimed to write a song that captured the emotions around the attacks but he found it challenging to do so.
He debuted the song at the Country Music Association’s annual awards show on November 7th, 2001. It was released that month and it topped the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for 5 weeks.
The song was positively received by critics for having an apolitical stance and it won multiple awards. Including Song of the Year and Jackson also earned his first Grammy Award for Best Country Song.
Alan Jackson wrote the song as a dedication to those we lost on that tragic day
Like all of us, Alan was stunned by the news of the terror attack. He’d just returned home from a walk when he turned on the TV. Jackson saw the devastation all over the news and broke down.
At that moment he knew he wanted to write a song to express his emotions but he found it hard to do so.
I didn’t want to write a patriotic song. And I didn’t want it to be vengeful, either. But I didn’t want to forget about how I felt and how I knew other people felt that day.
But at 4 am on the 28th of October, 2001, he began writing the opening lines, melody, and chorus as it went through his mind.
In just his underwear, he leaped out of bed and sang his thoughts into a hand-held digital recorder. When his wife and children headed out to Sunday school, he began to write down all the lyrics and work on the song.
After he played it to his wife and his manager, the 3 sat there in silence for a full minute and they all agreed Alan should record the song.
In the video below, we see Alan performing this beautiful and highly emotional tribute at the 50th annual Academy of Country Music Awards in 2015.
Where were you on the day the world stopped turning? We love hearing your stories here at Happiest. So please feel free to leave your own stories in the comment section below. 🐝