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“Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” is a song written by Alan Jackson and Jim McBride, It was released in September 1990 as the fourth single from Jackson’s first album, Here in the Real World.
Jim McBride talked to The Boot about Alan Jackson‘s first No. 1 single, which was the first of many hits the two co-wrote.
Alan started telling me about how he had this old Dodge van, and he would drive down to Florida for shows and play five or six sets a night. By the time he paid the band and bought gas, he wouldn’t make anything. Then he’d go to Arkansas the next weekend and do the same thing. He was whining that he couldn’t get a record deal, but other people would get off the bus and come down on Music Row and get a deal.
I had had this song idea for two solid years that I never did anything with, because I’d never been in a band. The title was called ‘Chasin’ that Neon Rainbow, Livin’ That Honkeytonk Dream.’ I’d written it down and carried it around for two years in my notebook. As Alan was telling me what he was going through I thought, ‘That’s what this song is all about.’ I told him the title and how I thought it was exactly what he describing. That’s the first song we ever wrote together. It was on his first album, ‘Here in the Real World.’
The radio that was mentioned in the song is now in the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was kind of embarrassing; they called and asked if I had the original lyrics and I said I did. They said they wanted them to display with the radio. I told them they were a mess, and they said if I changed one single thing they wouldn’t want them. Well they were on four separate yellow pad pages — a verse on every page and the chorus on another page. It was an unholy mess. When they displayed the radio at first they displayed the lyrics with it, but now I think it’s just the radio out there. The lyrics are in the archives.
So that’s how all that happened, and it was our first No. 1. That song and that album started a really nice thing for me and Alan.
Read More: Story Behind The Song: ‘Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow,’ Alan Jackson Chasin That Neon Rainbow
LYRICS: Written by Alan Jackson and Jim McBride
Daddy won a radio
He tuned it to a country show
I was rocking in the cradle to the crying of a steel guitar
Mama used to sing to me
She taught me that sweet harmony
Now she worries cause she never thought
I’d really ever take it this far
Singin’ in the bars
And chasin’ that neon rainbow
Livin’ that honky tonk dream
Cause all I’ve ever wanted
Is to pick this guitar and sing
It’s time to be somebody
Just wanna be heard and sing
I’m chasin’ that neon rainbow
Livin’ that honky tonk dream
And it was at a coffee cup
Five pickers and an old Dodge truck
Headin’ down to Houston for a show on Saturday night
This overhead is killing me
Half the time I sing for free
When the crowd’s into it, lord,
It makes this thing I’m doing seem right
Standing in the spotlight
Now daddy’s got a radio
He won it thirty years ago
He said; son I just know
We’re gonna hear you singin’ on it some day
I made it up to music row
Lordy, don’t the wheels turn slow
Still I wouldn’t trade a minute
I wouldn’t have it any other way
Just show me to the stage
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