What are Stonewall's Descendants Up to These Days?
(John D. Loudermilk, Marijohn Wilkin)
Highest chart position: No. 4 on July 13, 1959
Stonewall Jackson was born in a railroad shack outside Tabor City North Carolina, on November 6, 1932. His daddy, who named him after his great-grandfather (the famous Confederate general), died when Stonie was but two. Conditions were rough, with money hard to come by. Jackson played on an improvised, hand-me-down string box until 1949, when as a Navy submarine man, he got the chance to touch a real guitar. During these years, he wrote and performed songs that he would record many moons later.
From 1954 to 1956, Stonie worked hard as a farmer and logger, saving up to go to Nashville and become a country star. Without any arrangements or recommendations, Stonewall drove his logging truck to the doors of the Grand Ole Opry, where he somehow wrangled an audition with Judge George D. Hay, the founder of the institution. The somber judge signed him on the spot, and Jackson made his first appearance on the Opry that night, November 3, 1956. The chances of managing such a move without a hit record, then as now, were next to nil. Two years later, Stonewall would have that hit.
Once he played the Grand Ole Opry, doors of opportunity opened, including those at Columbia Records. "Life Goes On," his first single, charted top 10 on the C & W charts. The follow-up, "Waterloo," was a monster cross-over hit, the most momentous recording of his entire career. Three more singles made Billboard's Hot 100, and a few more charted big on the country listings. Twenty years ago, the hits stopped, but not Stonewall.
Things begin, things end. "Every puppy has his day" Stonewall sang, "Everyone must pay." How true, how true. And "Everyone must meet his Waterloo."