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Stonewall Jackson, a Grand Ole Opry member who had a longtime career in country music, has died. He was 89.
Jackson passed away on Saturday following a battle with vascular dementia, the Grand Ole Opry confirmed.
Born in Tabor City, North Carolina, Jackson was then raised in Georgia before heading to Nashville.
Jackson was known for his classic country singles that charted on the Hot Country Songs chart, including the country No. 1s “Waterloo” (1959) and “B.J. the D.J.” (1963), as well as songs like “Life to Go” (1958) and “Don’t Be Angry” (1964).
In an interview with Music Charts Magazine, Jackson recalled the excitement of being offered a five-year contract with the Grand Ole Opry on his first invitation to play there in 1956, after Wesley Rose heard his music and set him up with an audition. Jackson became a member of the Opry without having a record deal at the time.
He joined the Grand Ole Opry on Nov. 3, 1956, longer ago than any other current member.
“I’m not putting down the record end of the business because that’s very important, too,” Jackson noted in the interview. “But to me, the way I came here and all, the Grand Ole Opry’s been the mainstay in my career. I still love the Grand Ole Opry very, very much.”
“I intend to play it as long as I can still sing ‘Don’t Be Angry,'” Jackson said, referencing one of the first songs he ever performed at the Opry.
A performance at the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night will be in dedication to Jackson.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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