The Story Behind Alan Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”

its five o'clock somewhere

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One of country music's most universal songs is Alan Jackson's "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," but do you know the story behind it? Learn more here!

Country music star Alan Jackson‘s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” is one of the Georgia native’s biggest hits and a beloved summer anthem. However, the track only landed in Jackson’s wheelhouse only after it was passed up by other male country artists. More on the song’s backstory below!

Jim “Moose” Brown and Don Rollins wrote the catchy tune together. Rollins told The Boot that the original demo had a “very island-ly” feel, incorporating acoustic guitars and steel drums for a light and fun sound. Lyrics about drinking at any time in the day also helped make it an easy summer jam. “It was definitely that ‘Margaritaville’ feel,” he said.

But where did the idea for the song come from?

Rollins recalled that he first heard the phrase “It’s five o’clock somewhere” from his time as a band teacher. A colleague mentioned it as a song idea, and he immediately liked the idea. Together, they wrote the song fairly quickly and kept Jimmy Buffett in mind from the beginning, even before recording. They included a line saying, “What would Jimmy Buffett do?”

“It was me being sarcastic, poking a little fun at the ‘What would Jesus do?’ bumper stickers,” Rollins explained to Taste of Country. “It happened to be exactly the right thing for that situation. That was the way they brought Buffett into the song, it turned out to be the thing to make the song work for that situation.”

Songwriters Brown and Rollins shopped the song to Colt Prather and then Kenny Chesney. Both artists turned it down.

“I think they wanted to not do so much beachy stuff anymore,” Brown mused to the outlet in 20110. “If we had gotten it to him [Chesney] three years earlier, he probably would have jumped on it, but the timing wasn’t right.”

Fortunately, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” was right for Alan Jackson— he couldn’t resist a chance to record with Jimmy Buffet. The song was released on June 2, 2003 and it topped Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart for eight weeks! The collaboration then crossed over to the mainstream Hot 100, peaking at No. 17. Later on, the track won a CMA Award for Vocal Event of the Year.

Enjoy the official “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” music video below!

Share this bit of history with other fans of this tune!

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