Obituary: Stonewall Jackson, country singer

Stonewall Jackson, who died at the age of 89, was a talented country musician.

For over half a century he was on Grand Ole Opry, a major country radio station where he started in 1956 and continued to make appearances until 2010.

As part of Grand Ole Opry, musicians perform and host their own
shows. On the station, Jackson was touted by Porter Wagoner as having “a heart full of love and a bag full of songs.”

Jackson’s best-known tracks are perhaps the two No. 1 hits he had on the Billboard country charts – “BJ the DJ”, released in 1963, and “Waterloo”, released in 1959.

The latter, who spent two weeks in the Top 40 of the charts on this side of the pond, explored the falls of Napoleon and Adam from the account of the Christian creation. Overall, Jackson had 44 singles on the Billboard country charts.

In 1997, he won the Ernest Tubb Memorial Award for his contribution to country music. The price was right, as the eponymous singer-songwriter had been somewhat of a mentor to Jackson, hiring him as a first part and even paying for his proper first stage attire.
Jackson was born in Tabor City, North Carolina, the son of railroad engineer Waymond David and Lulu Lorraine (née Turner). His father would have chosen his name, after Confederate General “Stonewall” Jackson.

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Jackson’s father died of a hernia before he was born. Her stepfather, a sharecropper, was physically abusive, and her mother eventually moved to Georgia to end the relationship.

From the age of 10, Jackson worked in the fields. He later joined the Navy, where he developed his love of music, playing guitar and writing songs.

The start of his musical career came with a happy accident. Jackson pulled into a motel across from Acuff-Rose, a large publishing house, and decided to go in and introduce himself.

He sang for publisher Wesley Rose, who was so impressed with him that he was brought in to meet Grand Ole Opry founder George D Hay and director WD Kilpatrick. He signed with the radio that day. He is the only artist to have signed with the station before releasing music.
Before his musical career took off, Jackson worked carrying Opry memorabilia books from the basement of the National Life building.

However, his relationship with Grand Ole Opry deteriorated when he claimed he had been discriminated against on the basis of age, claiming his appearances had been reduced from 1998 onwards.

In 2008, aged 75, he settled a federal age discrimination lawsuit against the station and its management. Payment terms are not public.
In 1991, Jackson published an autobiography titled From the Bottom Up: The Stonewall Jackson Story as Told in His Own Words. He is survived by his children and grandchildren.

Stonewall Jackson, country singer, born November 6, 1932, died December 4, 2021

Toya J. Bell