Remembering George Jones
For me, the news of George Jones passing away hit hard. There are a handful of people you just think of as immortal; for me George Jones is one. He was there my whole life. A part of my soundtrack..
George Jones was a member of “the elite” in the class 1955. That was the year he debuted on the charts, as did the other 2 members of the class. You may know Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.
His voice was a paradox. Silky but with a tear in it. That voice was perfect for songs like The Grand Tour and He Stopped Loving Her Today, which is the biggest ballad in Country Music history.
I remember my Dad calling him “No Show Jones” once and asked why. My Dad’s response “He keeps forgetting to show up at concerts.” I was too young to understand why, so that was that. The truth is, he battled addiction for much of his life.
George’s style could change on a dime. From the serious Walk Through This World With Me and She Think I Still Care in his early career to the tongue in cheek The One I Love Back Then (The Corvette Song) and White Lightnin’.
I will never forget hearing his duets with Tammy Wynette. We’re Gonna Hold On was my favorite, though everyone else would probably pick Golden Ring. They had a marriage for the ages. It was a tumultuous ride but they were the King and Queen of Country Music.
It was amazing to me how he could adapt to the times. From the 50’s to 2010 he charted. That is unheard of! I remember when everyone clamored to even mention his name in a song in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. And to record with him. Wow!
The most interesting moment for George Jones had to be in 1999. He had recorded a song written by Billy Yates called Choices. It was a great song and was nominated for CMA Single of the Year. Normally (back then), each song nominated in that category was sung in its entirety during the awards show. But, the CMA said George could only sing a snippet. He refused to even be at the show. Alan Jackson, a huge fan of George’s, performed his hit Pop A Top during the awards, suddenly stopped and began to sing Choices. He then abruptly walked off stage. Jackson received a standing ovation and George, watching at home, teared up.
One thing people forget was that George was recovering, at the time, from a nasty car crash that should have taken his life. Choices was one of the most requested songs of the year on my show in 1999. You just don’t mess with the Possum!
I had the honor of meeting him in 2001. He was funny and very pleasant to talk with. I was lucky to be able to cross that off my bucket list. Now George Jones is gone. Thank God we will always have his music.
What was your favorite George Jones song?