George Jones was a pioneer of bringing country music to the mainstream audiences. With a long career that spanned well over fifty years and over one hundred and fifty hits, Jones was considered the “greatest living country singer” and notorious for being a wild boy who partied hard and had fun. Given the nickname “No Show Jones” due to him missing shows on a frequent basis, he finally settled down and got sober with the help of his fourth wife, Nancy ten years before he passed away. Jones was also given the name “Possum” because of his facial features resembled that of a possum.
He was trouble since his birth. He was so big that the doctors had to break his arm to get twelve pound George out of his mother. Jones also tried his hand at a theme park as his first one called “George Jones Rhythm Ranch” in Texas, failed after the first performance. He went on a alcohol bender and never returned. Two parks that he started afterwards did survive as his wives at the time ran them.
Sadly, not long before he passed away, Jones told an interviewer that no one really knows who he is in downtown Nashville after complaining that traditional country music has been replaced by commercial country music.
We are honoring George Jones here with some of his number one songs.
“White Lightning” (1959)
Written by J.P. Richardson, also known as “The Big Bopper”, it was released as a single by George Jones on February 1959. On April 13th of that year, the song went to number one and became the first number one for Jones.
“We’re Gonna Hold On” (with Tammy Wynette) (1973)
With three out of fourteen number one hits with former wife Tammy Wynette, this showed the chemistry between the two were real. This is their first duet as a married couple and it hit number one in the U.S. Charts in 1973.
“The Grand Tour” (1974)
The sixth number one hit by Jones, “The Grand Tour” was the self titled song from the album of the same name. It was the fourth biggest hit of the year. Widely hailed as one of the finest performances in country music history. The song is unique as it is a narration as well as a story.
“The Door” (1974)
“The Door’ was a weak hit for Jones as it stayed for only a week at number one and would spend ten weeks on the country charts. The first set of lyrics are “I’ve heard the sound of my dear old mama crying, And the sound of the train that took me off to war, And the awful sound of a thousand bombs exploding”
“He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980)
The greatest song in country music is what many country music singers call “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. The song tells the story of the singers “friend” who has never stopped loving the woman of his dreams. He has a collection of old letters and pictures that he holds dear in hopes that she would return again. In the song, he stops loving her “today” – the day he died.