Alan Jackson has had more impact on country music than just about any other artist of his generation, but he was just a young Nashville newcomer taking a chance on traditional country music when he released his debut album, Here in the Real World, on Feb. 27, 1990.

The native of Newnan, Ga., moved to Nashville to chase his country music dreams shortly after marrying his childhood sweetheart, Denise, in 1979, but he was anything but an overnight success. Denise worked as a flight attendant early in their marriage to help pay the bills, and she helped her husband get his first break when she spotted Glen Campbell at the airport. She approached him and explained that her husband was an aspiring country singer, and Campbell gave her a business card for his Nashville publishing company, which ended up signing Jackson to his first songwriting deal.

Jackson finally scored a record deal with Arista, which released Here in the Real World in 1990. Jackson had songwriting credits on all but one of the album's 10 tracks, but it was a slow start for the traditional-minded singer at country radio with his first single, "Blue Blooded Woman." The song stiffed at No. 45, but the second single from the album, the title song "Here in the Real World," reached No. 3, and so did its follow-up, "Wanted."

The fourth single from the album, "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow," peaked at No. 2, and Jackson scored his first No. 1 hit with the fifth and final single from Here in the Real World, "I'd Love You All Over Again." Fittingly, he wrote that song for his wife to mark their tenth wedding anniversary.

Here in the Real World ended up selling more than 2 million copies, launching Jackson as a major new star in the country music scene. The album's success helped to revitalize traditional country music and placed Jackson among the vanguard of artists who have since come to be called the Class of 1989, which included Jackson, Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and more. 30 years after its release, Here in the Real World stands as a landmark of modern country music, marking the debut of one of the most celebrated and awarded talents in the history of the genre.

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