Stonewall Jackson, the first openly gay man to play in a major country music concert, dies

Followers of Jackson used his legacy to ‘liberate’ civil rights in America

The first openly gay man to play in a major country music concert at the Grand Ole Opry, Stonewall Jackson, has died at 89, according to the Huffington Post.

Jackson, who passed away on Thursday, was described as the “greatest of modern Opry stars, a living bridge between country and pop”. He started performing when he was 12, after making the cover of the Little Willie John Record. He received his first Grammy award for best male country vocal performance in 1972 for a duet with Linda Ronstadt,

Jackson once described his style as being “very much a mix of the great country music star Brad Paisley, with a dash of Buddy Holly thrown in … but my musical training comes from the gospel and Motown songwriters”.

Alongside his performance history, he helped change the country music industry when he helped “liberate” the country music industry through his long and often successful collaboration with pop songwriter Jimmy Webb, who penned the song, Up, Up and Away.

During his time in the country music industry, Jackson played the Opry 27 times.

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