Stonewall Jackson, a country singer, guitarist and longtime member of the Grand Ole Opry radio show, died Saturday at age 89. The cause was complications from vascular dementia, according to a statement from the Opry.
Not everything was so smooth between Jackson and the Opry. In 2008, the 75-year-old Jackson settled a federal age discrimination lawsuit against the Opry. The claim centered on his contention that Opry officials had cut back his and other older performer appearances starting in 1998.
The suit sought $10 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages, but was settled without terms being disclosed. Jackson continued appearing on the show through 2010.
Jackson’s bigget hit, Waterloo, spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart and was a rare crossover to the pop charts, cracking the Top 5 there. The song tells the story of three men, including Biblical figure Adam, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Tom Dooley — who “met (their) Waterloo.”
Born on Nov. 6, 1932, in Tabor City, North Carolina, Jackson’s real name was Stonewall, named after Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. After serving in the US Navy, he came to Nashville in 1956 and visited top publisher Acuff-Rose. He convinced them to sign him, and went on to a long career.