Country Music Memories: ‘It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere’ Goes No. 1

Seventeen years ago today (Aug. 9, 2003) was a big day for Alan Jackson: It was on that date that his duet with Jimmy Buffett, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” hit the top of the charts, where it stayed for eight weeks.

“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” was the debut single from Jackson’s Greatest Hits II album. Written by Jim “Moose” Brown and Don Rollins, the tune encourages libations early in the day, saying, “It’s only half-past 12, but I don’t care / It’s five o’clock somewhere.”

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“I had the idea of “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” and it just clicked that the idea would do really well with that setting,” Rollins recalls to The Boot. “I floated it out, and [Brown] said, ‘Yeah, I’ve always heard that saying, but I’ve never heard a song about that.’ So we wrote it. It was definitely that “Margaritaville” feel.

“Jim and I agreed what the story was, that this was a guy who decided to have a few at lunch and then decided to stay there. Once that framework was there, then the lyrics were very easy for me,” Rollins continues. “The musical setting of it was more Jim’s end of it. That chorus, ‘Pour me something tall and strong …’ musically, was definitely Jim’s thing.”

“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” was released on June 2, 2003; the fact that Buffett was included in the song was kept as a surprise until the day it hit the airwaves. Portions of the video for the single were shot in Jupiter, Fla., near one of Jackson’s homes.

Their duet won Jackson and Buffett Vocal Event of the Year at the CMA Awards and Best Country Song at the Grammy Awards. Jackson included “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” on 2010’s 34 Number Ones, as well as on 2012’s Playlist: The Very Best of Alan Jackson.

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