George Jones

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For other people named George Jones, see George Jones (disambiguation). George Jones_sentence_0

George Jones_table_infobox_0

George JonesGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_0_0
BornGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_1_0 George Glenn Jones

(1931-09-12)September 12, 1931 Saratoga, Texas, U.S.George Jones_cell_0_1_1

DiedGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_2_0 April 26, 2013(2013-04-26) (aged 81)

Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.George Jones_cell_0_2_1

Resting placeGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_3_0 Woodlawn Memorial Park CemeteryGeorge Jones_cell_0_3_1
OccupationGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_4_0 Singer-songwriterGeorge Jones_cell_0_4_1
Years activeGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_5_0 1953–2013George Jones_cell_0_5_1
Spouse(s)George Jones_header_cell_0_6_0 Dorothy Bonvillon

​ ​(m. 1950; div. 1951)​

Shirley Ann Corley ​ ​(m. 1954; div. 1968)​

Tammy Wynette ​ ​(m. 1969; div. 1975)​

Nancy Sepulvado ​(m. 1983)​George Jones_cell_0_6_1

ChildrenGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_7_0 4George Jones_cell_0_7_1
Also known asGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_8_0 King George, Thumper Jones, The Possum, No Show JonesGeorge Jones_cell_0_8_1
GenresGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_9_0 George Jones_cell_0_9_1
InstrumentsGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_10_0 George Jones_cell_0_10_1
LabelsGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_11_0 George Jones_cell_0_11_1
Associated actsGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_12_0 George Jones_cell_0_12_1
WebsiteGeorge Jones_header_cell_0_13_0 George Jones_cell_0_13_1

George Glenn Jones (September 12, 1931 – April 26, 2013) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. George Jones_sentence_1

He achieved international fame for his long list of hit records, including his best-known song "He Stopped Loving Her Today", as well as his distinctive voice and phrasing. George Jones_sentence_2

For the last 20 years of his life, Jones was frequently referred to as the greatest living country singer. George Jones_sentence_3

Country music scholar Bill Malone writes, "For the two or three minutes consumed by a song, Jones immerses himself so completely in its lyrics, and in the mood it conveys, that the listener can scarcely avoid becoming similarly involved." George Jones_sentence_4

Waylon Jennings expressed a similar opinion in his song "It's Alright": "If we all could sound like we wanted to, we'd all sound like George Jones." George Jones_sentence_5

The shape of his nose and facial features earned Jones the nickname "The Possum". George Jones_sentence_6

George Jones has been called "The Rolls Royce Of Country Music" and had more than 160 chart singles to his name from 1955 until his death in 2013. George Jones_sentence_7

Born in Texas, Jones first heard country music when he was seven, and was given a guitar at the age of nine. George Jones_sentence_8

He married his first wife, Dorothy Bonvillion, in 1950, and was divorced in 1951. George Jones_sentence_9

He served in the United States Marine Corps and was discharged in 1953. George Jones_sentence_10

He married Shirley Ann Corley in 1954. George Jones_sentence_11

In 1959, Jones recorded "White Lightning", written by J. George Jones_sentence_12 P. Richardson, which launched his career as a singer. George Jones_sentence_13

His second marriage ended in divorce in 1968; he married fellow country music singer Tammy Wynette a year later. George Jones_sentence_14

Years of alcoholism compromised his health and led to his missing many performances, earning him the nickname "No Show Jones". George Jones_sentence_15

After his divorce from Wynette in 1975, Jones married his fourth wife, Nancy Sepulvado, in 1983 and became sober for good in 1999. George Jones_sentence_16

Jones died in 2013, aged 81, from hypoxic respiratory failure. George Jones_sentence_17

During his career, Jones had more than 150 hits, both as a solo artist and in duets with other artists. George Jones_sentence_18

Robert Christgau has called him "honky-tonk's greatest honky". George Jones_sentence_19

Life and career George Jones_section_0

Early years (1931–1953) George Jones_section_1

George Glenn Jones was born on September 12, 1931, in Saratoga, Texas, and was raised in Colmesneil, Texas, with his brother and five sisters in the Big Thicket region of southeast Texas. George Jones_sentence_20

His father, George Washington Jones, worked in a shipyard and played harmonica and guitar, while his mother, Clara (née Patterson), played piano in the Pentecostal Church on Sundays. George Jones_sentence_21

During his delivery, one of the doctors dropped Jones and broke his arm. George Jones_sentence_22

When he was seven, his parents bought a radio, and he heard country music for the first time. George Jones_sentence_23

Jones recalled to Billboard in 2006 that he would lie in bed with his parents on Saturday nights listening to the Grand Ole Opry and insist that his mother wake him if he fell asleep so he could hear Roy Acuff or Bill Monroe. George Jones_sentence_24

In his autobiography I Lived To Tell It All, Jones explains that the early death of his sister Ethel spurred on his father's drinking problem, and by all accounts, George Washington Jones could be physically and emotionally abusive to his wife and children when he drank. George Jones_sentence_25

In the book George Jones: The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend, Bob Allen recounts how George Washington Jones would return home in the middle of the night with his cronies roaring drunk, wake up a terrified George Glenn Jones, and demand that he sing for them or face a beating. George Jones_sentence_26

In a CMT episode of Inside Fame dedicated to Jones' life, country music historian Robert K. Oermann marveled, "You would think that it would make him not a singer, because it was so abusively thrust on him. George Jones_sentence_27

But the opposite happened; he became a chronic singer. George Jones_sentence_28

He became someone who had to sing." George Jones_sentence_29

In the same program, Jones admitted that he remained ambivalent and resentful towards his father up until the day he died and observed in his autobiography, "The Jones family makeup doesn't sit well with liquor...Daddy was an unusual drinker. George Jones_sentence_30

He drank to excess, but never while working, and he probably was the hardest working man I've ever known." George Jones_sentence_31

His father bought him his first guitar at age nine and he learned his first chords and songs at church, and several photographs show a young George busking on the streets of Beaumont. George Jones_sentence_32

He left home at 16 and went to Jasper, Texas, where he sang and played on the KTXJ radio station with fellow musician Dalton Henderson. George Jones_sentence_33

From there, he worked at the KRIC radio station. George Jones_sentence_34

During one such afternoon show, Jones met his idol, Hank Williams ("I just stared," he later wrote). George Jones_sentence_35

In the 1989 video documentary Same Ole Me, Jones admitted, "I couldn't think or eat nothin' unless it was Hank Williams, and I couldn't wait for his next record to come out. George Jones_sentence_36

He had to be, really, the greatest." George Jones_sentence_37

He married his first wife Dorothy Bonvillion in 1950, but they divorced in 1951. George Jones_sentence_38

He was enlisted in the United States Marines until his discharge in 1953. George Jones_sentence_39

He was stationed in San Jose, California, for his entire service. George Jones_sentence_40

First recordings (1954–1957) George Jones_section_2

Jones married Shirley Ann Corley in 1954. George Jones_sentence_41

His first record, the self-penned "No Money in This Deal", was recorded on January 19, and appeared in February on Starday Records, beginning the singer's association with producer and mentor H.W. George Jones_sentence_42 "Pappy" Daily. George Jones_sentence_43

The song was actually cut in Starday Records' co-founder Jack Starnes' living room and produced by Starnes. George Jones_sentence_44

Jones also worked at KTRM (now KZZB) in Beaumont around this time. George Jones_sentence_45

Deejay Gordon Baxter told Nick Tosches that Jones acquired the nickname "possum" while working there: "One of the deejays there, Slim Watts, took to calling him George P. Willicker Picklepuss Possum Jones. George Jones_sentence_46

For one thing, he cut his hair short, like a possum's belly. George Jones_sentence_47

He had a possum's nose and stupid eyes, like a possum." George Jones_sentence_48

During his early recording sessions, Daily admonished Jones for attempting to sound too much like his heroes Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell. George Jones_sentence_49

In later years, Jones would have little good to say about the music production at Starday, recalling to NPR in 1996 that "it was a terrible sound. George Jones_sentence_50

We recorded in a small living room of a house on a highway near Beaumont. George Jones_sentence_51

You could hear the trucks. George Jones_sentence_52

We had to stop a lot of times because it wasn't soundproof, it was just egg crates nailed on the wall and the big old semi trucks would go by and make a lot of noise and we'd have to start over again." George Jones_sentence_53

Jones' first hit came with "Why Baby Why" in 1955. George Jones_sentence_54

That same year, while touring as a cast member of the Louisiana Hayride, Jones met and played shows with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash. George Jones_sentence_55

"I didn't get to know him that well," Jones said of Presley to Nick Tosches in 1994. George Jones_sentence_56

"He stayed pretty much with his friends around him in his dressing room. George Jones_sentence_57

Nobody seemed to get around him much any length of time to talk to him." George Jones_sentence_58

Jones would, however, remain a lifelong friend of Johnny Cash. George Jones_sentence_59

Jones was invited to sing at the Grand Ole Opry in 1956. George Jones_sentence_60

With Presley's explosion in popularity in 1956, pressure was put on Jones to cut a few rockabilly sides, and he reluctantly agreed. George Jones_sentence_61

His heart was never in it, however, and he quickly regretted the decision; in his autobiography, he joked, "During the years, when I've encountered those records, I've used them for Frisbees." George Jones_sentence_62

He explained to Billboard in 2006: "I was desperate. George Jones_sentence_63

When you're hungry, a poor man with a house full of kids, you're gonna do some things you ordinarily wouldn't do. George Jones_sentence_64

I said, 'Well, hell, I'll try anything once.' George Jones_sentence_65

I tried 'Dadgum It How Come It' and 'Rock It', a bunch of shit. George Jones_sentence_66

I didn't want my name on the rock and roll thing, so I told them to put Thumper Jones on it and if it did something, good, if it didn't, hell, I didn't want to be shamed with it." George Jones_sentence_67

Jones went on to say he unsuccessfully attempted to buy all the masters to keep the cuts from surfacing later, which they did. George Jones_sentence_68

Jones moved to Mercury in 1957. George Jones_sentence_69

In early 1957, Jones teamed up with singer Jeannette Hicks, the first of several duet partners he would have over the years, and enjoyed yet another top-10 single with "Yearning". George Jones_sentence_70

Starday Records merged with Mercury that same year, and Jones scored high marks on the charts with his debut Mercury release of "Don't Stop the Music". George Jones_sentence_71

Meanwhile, Jones was travelling the black-top roads in a 1940s Packard with his name and phone number emblazoned on the side. George Jones_sentence_72

Although he was garnering a lot of attention and his singles were making very respectable showings on the charts, Jones was still playing the "blood bucket" circuit of honky-tonks that dotted the rural countryside. George Jones_sentence_73

Commercial breakout (1959–1964) George Jones_section_3

In 1959, Jones had his first number one on the Billboard country chart with "White Lightnin'", ironically a more authentic rock and roll sound than his half-hearted rockabilly cuts. George Jones_sentence_74

In the Same Ole Me retrospective, Johnny Cash insisted, "George Jones woulda been a really hot rockabilly artist if he'd approached it from that angle. George Jones_sentence_75

Well, he was, really, but never got the credit for it." George Jones_sentence_76

"White Lightnin'" was written by J. P. Richardson, better known as the Big Bopper. George Jones_sentence_77

In I Lived To Tell It All, Jones confessed that he showed up for the recording session under the influence of a great deal of alcohol and it took him about 80 takes just to record his vocals. George Jones_sentence_78

One aspect of Jones' early career that might be overlooked is his success as a songwriter; he wrote or co-wrote many of his biggest hits during this period, several of which have become standards, such as "Window Up Above" (later a smash for Mickey Gilley in 1975) and "Seasons of My Heart" (a hit for Johnny Cash and also recorded by Willie Nelson and Jerry Lee Lewis). George Jones_sentence_79

Jones wrote "Just One More" (also recorded by Cash), "Life To Go" (a top-five hit for Stonewall Jackson in 1959), "You Gotta Be My Baby", and "Don't Stop The Music" on his own and had a hand in writing "Color of the Blues" (covered by Loretta Lynn and Elvis Costello), "Tender Years", and "Tall, Tall Trees" (co-written with Roger Miller). George Jones_sentence_80

Jones' most frequent songwriting collaborator was his childhood friend Darrell Edwards. George Jones_sentence_81

Jones signed with United Artists in 1962, and immediately scored one of the biggest hits of his career, "She Thinks I Still Care". George Jones_sentence_82

His voice had grown noticeably deeper during this period, and he began cultivating the singing style that became uniquely his own. George Jones_sentence_83

During his stint with UA, Jones recorded tribute albums to Hank Williams and Bob Wills, and cut an album of duets with Melba Montgomery, including the hit "We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds". George Jones_sentence_84

Jones was also well on his way to gaining a reputation as a notorious hell-raiser. George Jones_sentence_85

In his Rolling Stone tribute, Merle Haggard recalls: George Jones_sentence_86

George Jones_description_list_0

  • "I met him at the Blackboard Café in Bakersfield, California, which was the place to go in '61. He was already famous for not showing up or showing up drunk, and he showed up drunk. I was onstage - I think I was singing Marty Robbins' 'Devil Woman' - and he kicked the doors of the office open and said 'Who the fuck is that?' It was one of the greatest compliments of my entire life when George Jones said I was his favorite country singer...In 1967, I released a ballad called "I Threw Away The Rose" and he was so impressed he actually jumped ship and left his tour, rented a Lear Jet and came to Amarillo, Texas. He told me my low note changed his life. "George Jones_item_0_0

On tour, Jones was always backed by the Jones Boys. George Jones_sentence_87

Like Buck Owens' Buckaroos and Merle Haggard's Strangers, Jones worked with many musicians who were great talents in their own right, including Dan Schafer, Hank Singer, Brittany Allyn, Sonny Curtis, Kent Goodson, Bobby Birkhead, and Steve Hinson. George Jones_sentence_88

In the 1980s and 1990s, bass player Ron Gaddis served as the Jones Boys' bandleader and sang harmony with Jones in concert. George Jones_sentence_89

Lorrie Morgan (who married Gaddis) also toured as a backup singer for Jones in the late 1970s and early 1980s. George Jones_sentence_90

Johnny Paycheck was the Jones Boys' bass player in the 1960s before going on to his own stardom in the 1970s. George Jones_sentence_91

Alcoholism and decline (1964–1979) George Jones_section_4

In 1964, Pappy Daily secured a new contract with Musicor records. George Jones_sentence_92

For the rest of the 1960s, Jones would score only one number one (1967's "Walk Through This World With Me"), but he practically owned the country music charts throughout the decade. George Jones_sentence_93

Significant hits include "Love Bug" (a nod to Buck Owens and the Bakersfield sound), "Things Have Gone to Pieces", "The Race Is On", "My Favorite Lies", "I'll Share My World with You", "Take Me" (a song he co-wrote and would later record with Tammy Wynette), "A Good Year for the Roses," and "If My Heart Had Windows". George Jones_sentence_94

By this point, Jones' singing style had evolved from the full-throated, high lonesome sound of Hank Williams and Roy Acuff on his early Starday records to the more refined, subtle style of Lefty Frizzell. George Jones_sentence_95

In a 2006 interview with Billboard, Jones acknowledged the fellow Texan's influence on his idiosyncratic phrasing: "I got that from Lefty. George Jones_sentence_96

He always made five syllables out of one word." George Jones_sentence_97

Jones' binge drinking and use of amphetamines on the road caught up to him in 1967, and he had to be admitted into a neurological hospital to seek treatment for his drinking. George Jones_sentence_98

Jones would go to extreme lengths for a drink if the thirst was on him. George Jones_sentence_99

Perhaps the most famous drinking story concerning Jones occurred while he was married to his second wife Shirley Corley. George Jones_sentence_100

Jones recalled Shirley making it physically impossible for him to travel to Beaumont, located 8 miles away, to buy liquor. George Jones_sentence_101

Because Jones would not walk that far, she would hide the keys to each of their cars they owned before leaving. George Jones_sentence_102

She did not, however, hide the keys to the lawn mower. George Jones_sentence_103

Upset, Jones walked to the window and looked out over his property. George Jones_sentence_104

He later described his thoughts in his memoir: "There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat. George Jones_sentence_105

A key glistening in the ignition. George Jones_sentence_106

I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. George Jones_sentence_107

It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did." George Jones_sentence_108

Years later Jones comically mocked the incident by making a cameo in the video for "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" by Hank Williams Jr.. George Jones_sentence_109

He also parodied the episode in the 1993 video for "One More Last Chance" by Vince Gill and in his own music video for the single "Honky Tonk Song" in 1996. George Jones_sentence_110

Curiously, in her 1979 autobiography Stand By Your Man, Tammy Wynette claims the incident occurred while she was married to Jones, maintaining that she woke up at one o'clock in the morning to find her husband gone: "I got into the car and drove to the nearest bar 10 miles away. George Jones_sentence_111

When I pulled into the parking lot, there sat our rider-mower right by the entrance. George Jones_sentence_112

He'd driven that mower right down a main highway... George Jones_sentence_113

He looked up and saw me and said, ‘Well, fellas, here she is now. George Jones_sentence_114

My little wife, I told you she'd come after me.’" George Jones_sentence_115

Jones became aware of Tammy Wynette because their tours were booked by the same agency and their paths sometimes crossed after Wynette's first minor hit "Apartment #9" in 1966, which was written by Johnny Paycheck. George Jones_sentence_116

Wynette was married to songwriter Don Chapel, who was also the opening act for her shows at the time. George Jones_sentence_117

The three became friends, but eventually Jones took more than a passing fancy to Wynette, who was 11 years his junior and grew up listening to all of his records. George Jones_sentence_118

According to his autobiography, Jones went to their house for supper, and while she was fixing the meal, Wynette and Chapel got into a heated exchange with Chapel calling his wife "a son of a bitch." George Jones_sentence_119

Jones wrote: "I felt rage fly all over me. George Jones_sentence_120

I jumped from my chair, put my hands under the dinner table, and flipped it over. George Jones_sentence_121

Dishes, utensils, and glasses flew in all directions. George Jones_sentence_122

Don and Tammy's eyes got about as big as the flying dinner plates." George Jones_sentence_123

Jones professed his love for Wynette on the spot and the couple married in 1969. George Jones_sentence_124

They began touring together, and Jones bought out his contract with Musicor so he could record with Tammy and her producer Billy Sherrill on Epic Records (the singer had split with longtime producer Pappy Daily on acrimonious terms). George Jones_sentence_125

Jones and Wynette became known as "Mr. & Mrs. Country Music" in the early 1970s, scoring several big hits, including "We're Gonna Hold On," "Let's Build A World Together", "Golden Ring", "Near You", and "(We're Not) The Jet Set". George Jones_sentence_126

When asked about recording Jones and Wynette, Sherill told Dan Daley in 2002, "It did increase my scotch intake some. George Jones_sentence_127

We started out trying to record the vocals together, but George drove Tammy crazy with his phrasing. George Jones_sentence_128

He never, ever did it the same way twice. George Jones_sentence_129

He could make a five-syllable word out of 'church.' George Jones_sentence_130

Finally, Tammy said, 'Record George and let me listen to it, and then do my vocal after we get his on tape.' George Jones_sentence_131

Tammy was a very quick study." George Jones_sentence_132

In October 1970, shortly after the birth of their only child Tamala Georgette, Jones was straitjacketed and committed to a padded cell at the Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Florida, after a drunken bender; he was kept there to detoxify for 10 days before being released with a prescription for Librium. George Jones_sentence_133

Jones managed longer stretches of sobriety with Wynette than he had enjoyed in years, but as the decade wore on, his drinking and erratic behavior worsened, leading to the couple's divorce in 1976. George Jones_sentence_134

Jones accepted the responsibility for the failure of the marriage, but vehemently denied Wynette's allegations in her autobiography that he beat her and fired a shotgun at her. George Jones_sentence_135

Remarkably, Jones and Wynette continued playing shows and drawing crowds in the years after their divorce, as fans began to see their songs mirroring their stormy relationship. George Jones_sentence_136

In 1980, they recorded the album Together Again and scored a hit with "Two Story House". George Jones_sentence_137

Jones also spoke publicly about his hopes for a reconciliation, and would jokingly reference Tammy in some of his songs - during performances of his 1981 hit "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)" he would sing "Tammy's memory will" - but the recrimination continued unabated. George Jones_sentence_138

After years of sniping, Jones and Wynette appeared to make peace in the 1990s, recording a final album, One, and even touring together again before Wynette's death in 1998. George Jones_sentence_139

In 1995, Jones told Country Weekly, "Like the old saying goes, it takes time to heal things and they've been healed quite a while." George Jones_sentence_140

Jones' pairing with Billy Sherrill at Epic Records came as a surprise to many; Sherrill and business partner Glenn Sutton are regarded as the defining influences of the countrypolitan sound, a smooth amalgamation of pop and country music that was popular during the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, a far cry from George's honky-tonk roots. George Jones_sentence_141

Despite a shaky start, the success that Sherrill had with Jones proved to be his most enduring; although Billboard chart statistics show that Sherrill had his biggest commercial successes with artists such as Wynette and Charlie Rich, with Jones, Sherrill had his longest-lasting association. George Jones_sentence_142

In Sherrill, Jones found what Andrew Meuller of Uncut described as "the producer capable of creating the epically lachrymose arrangements his voice deserved and his torment demanded...He summoned for Jones the symphonies of sighing strings that almost made the misery of albums like 1974's The Grand Tour and 1976's Alone Again sound better than happiness could possibly feel." George Jones_sentence_143

In 1974, they scored a number-one hit with the instant classic "The Grand Tour" and followed that with "The Door" ("I've heard the sound of my dear old mother cryin'/and the sound of the train that took me off to war"), another number-one smash. George Jones_sentence_144

Unlike most singers, who might have been overwhelmed by the string arrangements and background vocalists Sherrill sometimes employed on his records, Jones' voice, with its at times frightening intensity and lucid tone, could stand up to anything. George Jones_sentence_145

While Jones wrote fewer songs himself - songwriters had been tripping over themselves pitching songs to him for years - he still managed to co-write several, such as "What My Woman Can't Do" (also recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis), "A Drunk Can't Be A Man", the harrowing "I Just Don't Give a Damn" (perhaps the greatest "lost classic" in the entire Jones catalogue), and "These Days (I Barely Get By)", which he had written with Wynette. George Jones_sentence_146

In the late 1970s, Jones spiraled out of control. George Jones_sentence_147

Already drinking constantly, a manager named Shug Baggot introduced him to cocaine before a show because he was too tired to perform. George Jones_sentence_148

The drug increased Jones' already considerable paranoia. George Jones_sentence_149

During one drunken binge, he shot at, and very nearly hit, his friend and occasional songwriting partner Earl "Peanutt" Montgomery after Montgomery had quit drinking after finding religion. George Jones_sentence_150

He was often penniless and acknowledged in his autobiography that Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash came to his financial aid during this time. George Jones_sentence_151

Jones also began missing shows at an alarming rate and lawsuits from promoters started piling up. George Jones_sentence_152

In 1978, owing Wynette $36,000 in child support and claiming to be $1 million in debt, he filed for bankruptcy. George Jones_sentence_153

Jones appeared incoherent at times, speaking in quarrelling voices that he would later call "the Duck" and "the Old Man". George Jones_sentence_154

In his article "The Devil In George Jones", Nick Tosches states, "By February 1979, he was homeless, deranged, and destitute, living in his car and barely able to digest the junk food on which he subsisted. George Jones_sentence_155

He weighed under a hundred pounds, and his condition was so bad that it took him more than two years to complete My Very Special Guests, an album on which Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Elvis Costello, and other famous fans came to his vocal aid and support. George Jones_sentence_156

Jones entered Hillcrest Psychiatric Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. George Jones_sentence_157

Upon his release in January 1980, the first thing he did was pick up a six-pack." George Jones_sentence_158

Jones often displayed a sheepish, self-deprecating sense of humor regarding his dire financial standing and bad reputation. George Jones_sentence_159

In June 1979, he appeared with Waylon Jennings on Ralph Emery's syndicated radio program, and at one point Jennings cracked, "It's lonely at the top." George Jones_sentence_160

A laughing Jones replied, "It's lonely at the bottom, too! George Jones_sentence_161

It's real, real lonely, Waylon." George Jones_sentence_162

Despite his chronic unreliability, Jones was still capable of putting on a captivating live show. George Jones_sentence_163

On Independence Day, 1976, he appeared at Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic in Gonzales, Texas, in front of 80,000 younger, country-rock oriented fans. George Jones_sentence_164

A nervous Jones felt out of his comfort zone and nearly bolted from the festival, but went on anyway and wound up stealing the show. George Jones_sentence_165

The Houston Post wrote, "He was the undisputed star of this year's Willie Nelson of the greatest." George Jones_sentence_166

Penthouse called him "the spirit of country music, plain and simple, its Holy Ghost". George Jones_sentence_167

The Village Voice added, "As a singer he is as intelligent as they come, and should be considered for a spot in America's all-time top ten." George Jones_sentence_168

Jones began missing more shows than he made, however, including several highly publicized dates at the Bottom Line club in New York City. George Jones_sentence_169

Former vice president of CBS Records Rick Blackburn recalls in the 1989 video Same Ole Me that the event had been hyped for weeks, with a lot of top press and cast members from Saturday Night Live planning to attend. George Jones_sentence_170

"We'd made our plans, travel arrangements, and so forth. George Jones_sentence_171

George excused himself from my office, left - and we didn't see him for three weeks. George Jones_sentence_172

He just did not show up." George Jones_sentence_173

Much like Hank Williams, Jones seemed suspicious of success and furiously despised perceived slights and condescension directed towards the music that he loved so dearly. George Jones_sentence_174

When he finally played the Bottom Line in 1980, the New York Times called him "the finest, most riveting singer in country music." George Jones_sentence_175

Comeback (1980–1990) George Jones_section_5

Later years and death (1990–2013) George Jones_section_6

In 1990, Jones released his last proper studio album on Epic, You Oughta Be Here With Me. George Jones_sentence_176

Although the album featured several stirring performances, including the lead single "Hell Stays Open All Night Long" and the Roger Miller-penned title song, the single did poorly and Jones made the switch to MCA, ending his relationship with Sherrill and what was now Sony Music after 19 years. George Jones_sentence_177

His first album with MCA, And Along Came Jones, was released in 1991, and backed by MCA's powerful promotion team and producer Kyle Lehning (who had produced a string of hit albums for Randy Travis), the album sold better than his previous one had. George Jones_sentence_178

However, two singles, "You Couldn't Get The Picture" and "She Loved A Lot In Her Time" (a tribute to Jones' mother Clara), did not crack the top 30 on the charts, as Jones lost favor with country radio, as the format was altered radically during the early 1990s. George Jones_sentence_179

His last album to have significant radio airplay was 1992's Walls Can Fall, which featured the novelty song "Finally Friday" and "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair", a testament to his continued vivaciousness in old age. George Jones_sentence_180

Despite the lack of radio airplay, Jones continued to record and tour throughout the 1990s and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame by Randy Travis in 1992. George Jones_sentence_181

In 1996, Jones released his autobiography I Lived To Tell It All with Tom Carter, and the irony of his long career was not lost on him, with the singer writing in its preface, "I also know that a lot of my show-business peers are going to be angry after reading this book. George Jones_sentence_182

So many have worked so hard to maintain their careers. George Jones_sentence_183

I never took my career seriously, and yet it's flourishing." George Jones_sentence_184

He also pulled no punches about his disappointment in the direction country music had taken, devoting a full chapter to the changes in the country music scene of the 1990s that had him removed from radio playlists in favor of a younger generation of pop-influenced country stars. George Jones_sentence_185

(Jones had long been a critic of country pop, and along with Wynette and Jean Shepard, he was one of the major backers of the Association of Country Entertainers, a guild promoting traditional country sounds that was founded in 1974; Jones's divorce from Wynette was a factor in the association's collapse.) George Jones_sentence_186

Despite his absence from the country charts during this time, latter-day country superstars such as Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, and many others often paid tribute to Jones, while expressing their love and respect for his legacy as a true country legend who paved the way for their own success. George Jones_sentence_187

On February 17, 1998, The Nashville Network premiered a group of television specials called The George Jones Show, with Jones as host. George Jones_sentence_188

The program featured informal chats with Jones holding court with country's biggest stars old and new, and of course, music. George Jones_sentence_189

Guests included Loretta Lynn, Trace Adkins, Johnny Paycheck, Lorrie Morgan, Merle Haggard, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Charley Pride, Bobby Bare, Patty Loveless, and Waylon Jennings, among others. George Jones_sentence_190

While Jones remained committed to "pure country", he worked with the top producers and musicians of the day and the quality of his work remained high. George Jones_sentence_191

Some of his significant performances include "I Must Have Done Something Bad", "Wild Irish Rose", "Billy B. George Jones_sentence_192

Bad" (a sarcastic jab at country music establishment trendsetters), "A Thousand Times A Day", "When The Last Curtain Falls", and the novelty "High-Tech Redneck". George Jones_sentence_193

Jones' most popular song in his later years was "Choices", the first single from his 1999 studio album Cold Hard Truth. George Jones_sentence_194

A video was also made for the song, and Jones won another Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. George Jones_sentence_195

The song was at the center of controversy when the Country Music Association invited Jones to perform it on the awards show, but required that he perform an abridged version. George Jones_sentence_196

Jones refused and did not attend the show. George Jones_sentence_197

Alan Jackson was disappointed with the association's decision, and halfway through his own performance during the show, he signaled to his band and played part of Jones' song in protest. George Jones_sentence_198

On March 6, 1999, Jones was involved in an accident when he crashed his sport utility vehicle near his home. George Jones_sentence_199

He was taken to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he was released two weeks later. George Jones_sentence_200

In May of that year, Jones pleaded guilty to drunk-driving charges related to the accident. George Jones_sentence_201

(In his memoir published three years earlier, Jones admitted that he sometimes had a glass of wine before dinner and that he still drank beer occasionally, but insisted, "I don't squirm in my seat, fighting the urge for another drink" and speculated, "perhaps I'm not a true alcoholic in the modern sense of the word. George Jones_sentence_202

Perhaps I was always just an old fashioned drunk.") George Jones_sentence_203

The crash was a significant turning point, as he explained to Billboard in 2006: "when I had that wreck, I made up my mind, it put the fear of God in me. George Jones_sentence_204

No more smoking, no more drinking. George Jones_sentence_205

I didn't have to have no help, I made up my mind to quit. George Jones_sentence_206

I don't crave it." George Jones_sentence_207

After the accident, Jones went on to release The Gospel Collection in 2003, for which Billy Sherrill came out of retirement to produce. George Jones_sentence_208

He appeared at a televised Johnny Cash Memorial Concert in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in 2003, singing "Big River" with Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. George Jones_sentence_209

In 2008, Jones received the Kennedy Center Honor along with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who, Barbra Streisand, Morgan Freeman, and Twyla Tharp. George Jones_sentence_210

President George W. Bush disclosed that he had many of Jones' songs on his iPod. George Jones_sentence_211

Jones also served as judge in 2008 for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers. George Jones_sentence_212

and Rolling Stone named him number 43 in their 100 Greatest Singers of All Time issue. George Jones_sentence_213

An album titled Hits I Missed and One I Didn't, in which he covered hits he had passed on, as well as a remake of his own "He Stopped Loving Her Today", would be released as his final studio album. George Jones_sentence_214

In 2012, Jones received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award. George Jones_sentence_215

On March 29, 2012, Jones was taken to the hospital with an upper respiratory infection. George Jones_sentence_216

Months later, on May 21, Jones was hospitalized again for his infection and was released five days later. George Jones_sentence_217

On August 14, 2012, Jones announced his farewell tour, the Grand Tour, with scheduled stops at 60 cities. George Jones_sentence_218

His final concert was held in Knoxville at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum on April 6, 2013. George Jones_sentence_219

Jones was scheduled to perform his final concert at the Bridgestone Arena on November 22, 2013. George Jones_sentence_220

However, on April 18, 2013, Jones was taken to VUMC for a slight fever and irregular blood pressure. George Jones_sentence_221

His concerts in Alabama and Salem were postponed as a result. George Jones_sentence_222

Following six days in intensive care at VUMC, Jones died on April 26, 2013, at age 81. George Jones_sentence_223

Former First Lady Laura Bush was among those eulogizing Jones at his funeral on May 2, 2013. George Jones_sentence_224

Other speakers were Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, news personality Bob Schieffer, and country singers Barbara Mandrell and Kenny Chesney. George Jones_sentence_225

Alan Jackson, Kid Rock, Ronnie Milsap, Randy Travis, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Travis Tritt, the Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Daniels, Wynonna, and Brad Paisley provided musical tributes. George Jones_sentence_226

The service was broadcast live on CMT, GAC, RFD-TV, The Nashville Network and FamilyNet as well as Nashville stations. George Jones_sentence_227

SiriusXM and WSM 650AM, home of the Grand Ole Opry, broadcast the event on the radio. George Jones_sentence_228

The family requested that contributions be made to the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund or to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. George Jones_sentence_229

Jones was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville. George Jones_sentence_230

His death made headlines all over the world; many country stations (as well as a few of other formats, such as oldies/classic hits) abandoned or modified their playlists and played his songs throughout the day. George Jones_sentence_231

The week after Jones's death, "He Stopped Loving Her Today" re-entered the hot country songs at number 21. George Jones_sentence_232

Legacy George Jones_section_7

Further information: List of awards received by George Jones George Jones_sentence_233

Jones tirelessly defended the integrity of country music, telling Billboard in 2006, "It's never been for love of money. George Jones_sentence_234

I thank God for it because it makes me a living. George Jones_sentence_235

But I sing because I love it, not because of the dollar signs." George Jones_sentence_236

Jones also went out of his way to promote younger country singers that he felt were as passionate about the music as he was. George Jones_sentence_237

"Everybody knows he's a great singer," Alan Jackson stated in 1995, "but what I like most about George is that when you meet him, he is like some old guy that works down at the gas station...even though he's a legend!" George Jones_sentence_238

Shortly after Jones' death, Andrew Mueller wrote about his influence in Uncut, "He was one of the finest interpretive singers who ever lifted a microphone...There cannot be a single country songwriter of the last 50-odd years who has not wondered what it might be like to hear their words sung by that voice." George Jones_sentence_239

In an article for The Texas Monthly in 1994, Nick Tosches eloquently described the singer's vocal style: "While he and his idol, Hank Williams, have both affected generations with a plaintive veracity of voice that has set them apart, Jones has an additional gift—a voice of exceptional range, natural elegance, and lucent tone. George Jones_sentence_240

Gliding toward high tenor, plunging toward deep bass, the magisterial portamento of his onward-coursing baritone emits white-hot sparks and torrents of blue, investing his poison love songs with a tragic gravity and inflaming his celebrations of the honky-tonk ethos with the hellfire of abandon." George Jones_sentence_241

In the New Republic essay "Why George Jones ranks with Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday," David Hajdu writes: George Jones_sentence_242

George Jones_description_list_1

  • "Jones had a handsome and strange voice. His singing was always partly about the appeal of the tones he produced, regardless of the meaning of the words. In this sense, Jones had something in common with singers of formal music and opera, though his means of vocal production were radically different from theirs. He sang from the back of his throat, rather than from deep in his diaphragm. He tightened his larynx to squeeze sound out. He clenched his jaw, instead of wriggling it free. He forced wind through his teeth, and the notes sounded weirdly beautiful."George Jones_item_1_1

David Cantwell recalled in 2013, "His approach to singing, he told me once, was to call up those memories and feelings of his own that most closely corresponded to those being felt by the character in whatever song he was performing. George Jones_sentence_243

He was a kind of singing method actor, creating an illusion of the real." George Jones_sentence_244

In the liner notes to Essential George Jones: The Spirit of Country Rich Kienzle states, "Jones sings of people and stories that are achingly human. George Jones_sentence_245

He can turn a ballad into a catharsis by wringing every possible emotion from it, making it a primal, strangled cry of anguish". George Jones_sentence_246

In 1994, country music historian Colin Escott pronounced, "Contemporary country music is virtually founded on reverence for George Jones. George Jones_sentence_247

Walk through a room of country singers and conduct a quick poll, George nearly always tops it." George Jones_sentence_248

In the wake of Jones's death, Merle Haggard pronounced in Rolling Stone, "His voice was like a Stradivarius violin: one of the greatest instruments ever made." George Jones_sentence_249

Emmylou Harris wrote, "when you hear George Jones sing, you are hearing a man who takes a song and makes it a work of art - always," a quote that appeared on the sleeve of Jones' 1976 album The Battle. George Jones_sentence_250

In the documentary Same Ole Me, several country music stars offer similar thoughts. George Jones_sentence_251

Johnny Cash: "When people ask me who my favorite country singer is, I say, 'You mean besides George Jones? George Jones_sentence_252

'"; Randy Travis: "It sounds like he's lived every minute of every word that he sings and there's very few people who can do that"; Tom T. Hall: "It was always Jones who got the message across just right"; and Roy Acuff: "I'd give anything if I could sing like George Jones". George Jones_sentence_253

In the same film, producer Billy Sherrill states, "All I did was change the instrumentation around him. George Jones_sentence_254

I don't think he's changed at all." George Jones_sentence_255

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed George Jones among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. George Jones_sentence_256

Influence beyond country music George Jones_section_8

Unlike some of his contemporaries, Jones painstakingly adhered to country music. George Jones_sentence_257

Jones never reached the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 and almost never had any of his music played on mainstream popular music stations in his career. George Jones_sentence_258

Ironically, without even trying, Jones' unabashed loyalty to strictly country arrangements attracted the admiration of musicians and songwriters from a wide range of genres. George Jones_sentence_259

In an often-quoted tribute, Frank Sinatra called Jones "the second-best singer in America". George Jones_sentence_260

In a Rolling Stone interview in 1969, Bob Dylan was asked what he thought was the best song released in the previous year, and he replied, "George Jones had one called 'Small Time Laboring Man'," and in his autobiography Chronicles, Dylan states that in the early 1960s, he was largely unimpressed by what he heard on the radio, and admits "Outside of maybe George Jones, I didn't listen to country music either." George Jones_sentence_261

Country rock pioneer Gram Parsons was an avid George Jones fan and covered Jones' song "That's All It Took" on his first solo album. George Jones_sentence_262

In the documentary Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel, famous rock groupie Pamela Des Barres recalls seeing Parsons singing Jones' song "She Once Lived Here" at an empty Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles: "It was my peak, peak moment, not sitting on Jimmy Page's amp...that was my peak moment." George Jones_sentence_263

Parsons reignited Keith Richards' interest in country music in the early '70s, and after Jones' death in 2013, the guitarist wrote, "He possessed the most touching voice, the most expressive ways of projecting that beautiful instrument of anyone I can call to mind. George Jones_sentence_264

You heard his heart in every note he sang." George Jones_sentence_265

Richards recorded "Say It's Not You" with Jones for The Bradley Barn Sessions in 1994, and recalls in his autobiography hearing him sing for the first time when the Rolling Stones and Jones were on the same show in Texas in 1964: "They trailed in with tumbleweed following them, as if tumbleweed was their pet. George Jones_sentence_266

Dust all over the place, a bunch of cowboys, but when George got up, we went whoa, there's a master up there." George Jones_sentence_267

In the documentary The History of Rock 'N' Roll, Mick Jagger also cites Jones as one of his favorite country singers. George Jones_sentence_268

John Prine mentions Jones in his song "Jesus the Missing Years" and "Knockin' on Your Screen Door". George Jones_sentence_269

Jones fan Elvis Costello had a surprise hit in the UK when he covered "A Good Year for the Roses" in 1981. George Jones_sentence_270

Elliott Smith told an interviewer about his idea of Heaven: "George Jones would be singing all the time. George Jones_sentence_271

It would be like New York in reverse: people would be nice to each other for no reason at all, and it would smell good." George Jones_sentence_272

In a 2001 interview with Mark Binelli from Rolling Stone, Leonard Cohen asked, "Have you heard George Jones' last record Cold Hard Truth? George Jones_sentence_273

I love to hear an old guy lay out his situation. George Jones_sentence_274

He has the best voice in America," and the day Jones died, Cohen performed "Choices" on stage in Winnipeg, Canada, as a tribute to the country legend. George Jones_sentence_275

In 2013, Robbie Robertson told Uncut, "He was the Ray Charles of country music - the one who could make you cry with his voice...We wouldn't listen to country music, the guys in The Band, but we'd listen to George Jones..." Robert Plant told Uncut's Michael Bonner in 2014, "I now have to listen to George Jones once a day. George Jones_sentence_276

Amazing singer. George Jones_sentence_277

What a singer." George Jones_sentence_278

James Taylor, who wrote "Bartender's Blues" with Jones in mind and sang background vocals with him on the recording, told Rolling Stone, "He sounds like a steel guitar. George Jones_sentence_279

It's the way he blends notes, the way he comes up to them, the way he crescendos and decrescendos. George Jones_sentence_280

The dynamic of it is very tight and very controlled - it's like carving with the voice." George Jones_sentence_281

Other disparate artists who recorded with Jones include Dennis Locorriere and Ray Sawyer of Dr. George Jones_sentence_282 Hook, Mark Knopfler, the Staples Singers, Leon Russell, B.B King, Blackberry Smoke, The Grateful Dead, and Linda Ronstadt. George Jones_sentence_283

In 1995, Burt Reynolds wrote, "He is to country music what Spencer Tracy is to movies." George Jones_sentence_284

Duets George Jones_section_9

Jones was one of the greatest harmony singers in country music, and released many duets over the course of his long career. George Jones_sentence_285

While his songs with Tammy Wynette are his most celebrated, Jones claimed in his autobiography that he felt his duets with Melba Montgomery were his best. George Jones_sentence_286

Jones also recorded duet albums with Gene Pitney and his former bass player Johnny Paycheck. George Jones_sentence_287

George's record with Paycheck, 1980's Double Trouble, is one of his most atypical records, and features him giving credible performances on numbers such as "Maybelline", "You Better Move On", and "Proud Mary". George Jones_sentence_288

Jones also recorded the duet albums My Very Special Guests (1979), Ladies Choice (1984), Friends In High Places (1991), The Bradley Barn Sessions (1994), God's Country: George Jones And Friends (2006), a second album with Merle Haggard called Kickin' Out The Footlights...Again (2006), and Burn Your Playhouse Down (2008). George Jones_sentence_289

In addition to the many recordings Jones made with Tammy Wynette, some of his notable duets include: George Jones_sentence_290

George Jones_unordered_list_2

Discography George Jones_section_10

Further information: George Jones albums discography, George Jones singles discography, and George Jones and Tammy Wynette discography George Jones_sentence_291

Number-one country hits George Jones_section_11

George Jones_ordered_list_3

  1. "White Lightning" (1959)George Jones_item_3_53
  2. "Tender Years" (1961)George Jones_item_3_54
  3. "She Thinks I Still Care" (1962)George Jones_item_3_55
  4. "Walk Through This World with Me" (1967)George Jones_item_3_56
  5. "We're Gonna Hold On" (with Tammy Wynette) (1973)George Jones_item_3_57
  6. "The Grand Tour" (1974)George Jones_item_3_58
  7. "The Door" (1975)George Jones_item_3_59
  8. "Golden Ring" (with Tammy Wynette) (1976)George Jones_item_3_60
  9. "Near You" (with Tammy Wynette) (1977)George Jones_item_3_61
  10. "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (1980)George Jones_item_3_62
  11. "Still Doin' Time" (1981)George Jones_item_3_63
  12. "Yesterday's Wine" (with Merle Haggard) (1982)George Jones_item_3_64
  13. "I Always Get Lucky with You" (1983)George Jones_item_3_65

See also George Jones_section_12

George Jones_unordered_list_4

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: Jones.