Stonewall Jackson’s Breakout Hit, Written By George Jones, Will Amaze You

Stonewall Jackson may surprise you. Not only because his first name really is Stonewall, and it isn’t a nickname, but also because he has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years! 58 years, to be exact!

According to the Grand Ole Opry’s website, Stonewall, “became a member of the Grand Ole Opry about as fast as anyone ever did. It took him about 24 hours.” He was also the first person to become a member before having a recording contract.

After moving to Nashville from North Carolina, he worked at the city’s top publishing company at that time, Acuff-Rose. There, he ended up singing for a publisher by the name of Wesley Rose, which went extremely well!

Wesley immediately took him to sing for George D. Hay, Opry’s founder, and W.D. Kilpatrick, the manager. Stonewall said, “they took me down the hall and signed me to a regular member’s contract. I’ve been here ever since.” They also helped him get a contract with Columbia Records, where he released his first hit song, “Life To Go” in 1958.

Before he had a hit song, Stonewall toured with legendary Opry member Ernest Tubb and eventually was presented the Ernest Tubb Memorial Award in 1997 for his contributions to country music.

Something else that will surprise you is that Stonewall’s breakout hit, “Life To Go” was written by legendary country singer, George Jones! It peaked at No. 2 on the charts. Stonewall really captures the pain of this song, and also incorporates Stonewall’s famous “honky tonk” sound. He is considered a cornerstone of the honky tonk sound, along with Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell.

Take a listen to Stonewall’s first ever hit below!


I’ve got a sad sad story, friend, that I don’t like to tell
I had a home and family when they locked me in this cell
I’ve been in here eighteen years, that’s a long long time, I know
But time don’t mean a thing to me ’cause I’ve got life to go

Well, I went one night where the lights were bright
Just to see what I could see
I met up with an old friend who just thought the world of me
He brought me drinks and he took me to every honky tonk in town
Then words were said and now he’s dead, I just had to bring him down

Well, it’s been a long long time now since I’ve heard from my wife
Yes, I’d be there with her yet, if I hadn’t used the knife
Well, I’ll bet that little girl of mine don’t realize or know
Her daddy’s been here eighteen years and still got life to go

Well, I’ll bet there’s not one man outside that’s spent this long in jail
I’ll be here in this prison till my body’s just a shell
No, I can’t be free to go and see the ones that I love so
I’ve been in here eighteen years and still got life to go

Yes, I’ve still got life to go, yea, I’ve still got life to go
Yes, I’ve still got life to go, yea, I’ve still got life to go

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