Country music icon George Jones — a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and a legend of the Grand Old Opry — died today in Nashville, where he had been hospitalized for more than a week with fever and irregular blood pressure. He was 81.
His recording career spanned more than 50 years, kick-started with his 1959 hit, “White Lightning.” He charted more than 160 singles, a record in pop-music history that still stands. Over the decades, Jones worked with Mercury Records, United Artists, Epic Records, and MCA, as well as producers and songwriters including Billy Sherrill and Bobby Braddock, who were often behind Jones’ series of duets with his then-wife Tammy Wynette — “Golden Ring,” “Near You,” and “We’re Gonna Hold On.”
Jones and Wynette’s tumultuous professional and personal relationship became a defining dynamic in country music, and his personal struggles with drugs and alcohol were also well documented; he later credited second wife Nancy Jones with helping him to reach and maintain his sobriety for the last three decades of his life.
Jones’ final Top 20 country hit came in 1998, with “You Don’t Seem To Miss Me,” featuring Patty Loveless, followed 10 years later by a fêting at the Kennedy Center Honors. Jones announced his farewell tour in 2012, which was to conclude in November of this year with a sold-out show featuring Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, and Garth Brooks, among several others.
George Jones > Quotes > Quotable Quote
“Me and the bottle have always been friends, we've had a few old nasty fights but the bottle would always win, so when I go to answer that final curtain call, I can hear these words being whispered by all... Ol' George stopped drinking today.”
― George Jones
Nancy was not his second wife - more like his third or fourth.
In the late 1960s Jones and Wynette bought a mansion in the boonies of Central Florida between two small towns for their down time from touring or appearing on "Hee Haw."
My mother would always say "there's George and Tammy's" when we'd pass by on the way to visit my grandmother.
After George had his license taken away after one too many DUIs, he'd drive his riding lawn mower a mile or so up to the corner store at the highway and buy his beer.
R.I.P. ya redneck.
I only saw him once live in concert, back in the 90's, and I was pleasantly shocked by two things: the beauty and emotion of his voice live, without studio tweaking, and the great graciousness with which he credited each band member by name.
Big, big supporter of country artist Shelby Lynne
What r8 said. Old school country / outlaw / bluegrass are great. Today's "country music" is nothing but jingoistic propaganda marketed to the guns / Jeebus / 'murica fuck yeah! demographic.
RIP George. They don't make 'em like him anymore, and that's a damn shame.
[quote] Big, big supporter of country artist Shelby Lynne
Oh, HE's the ONE.
George Jones was a hot mess, but he was also a great talent. Rest In Peace, Possum.
My partner's mom has been married almost as many times as Liz Taylor. Her third husband, a bootlegger, got in a bar fight with The Possum once.
Someone posted in a thread about going to a Tammy Wynette concert. Before the show started George staggered drunk onto the the stage yelling for Tammy. This was long after they divorced.
RIP. Big country fan here. Lots of respect, good to see it displayed on the DL for once.
R20, I saw him play the DuQuoin State Fair in Illinois around 1980. Problem was, he was not scheduled to be there. He staggered onstage during her set and she ceded the stage to him for a few numbers. He was so drunk he forgot many of the lyrics and had to keep backing up to the band so they could feed him the lyrics to his own songs. Tammy's current husband, something or other Richie, was on the piano.
It was a bit awkward. They said he was still carrying a huge torch for her.
I was surprised at that concert by how crystal clear [italic] her [/italic] voice was. In real life it was not nearly as nasal as it sounded on records/radio. She could still hit the money note in Stand by Your Man then, too.
Well look at the bright side, one less woman beater on the planet.
Who's gonna do the biopic? Oh wait..
I wonder if he will show up for his funeral?
For the more urbane DL members, George was fondly called "No Show Jones" for his practice of no-showing his concerts. RIP.
Ol' George had one of them chin potholes you could drive a Ford F-250 into and get stuck.
Died at 81 and Willie Nelson turns 80 this week.
So much for the merits of clean living.
He and my grandfather delivered medicine for a pharmacy in Beaumont, TX when they were 12/13 years old.
I only met him after he got sober, so I don't have stories about his drunken exploits. I lived in Nashville for a number of years, and I often saw people wearing t-shirts that said "I went to see George Jones on ________ and he didn't show." There was also a version for when he did.
Sober, he was a genuinely sweet and shy man who was wonderful to be around.
How old was he when he got sober? Amazing he lived to such an old age after all the abuse he heaped on his body.
It seems that every dead famous singer or musician is "legendary."
With Jones, that word is appropriate. He and Merle Haggard are my favorite male country voices.
Contemporay Country sucks.
I live near the mansion r13 mentions. One of those small towns is now a small city and has grown out to meet the mansion.
Overall, the property is still the same (including the guitar-shaped pool). A cheesy, local TV-advertised lawyer owns it now.
[quote]How old was he when he got sober?
I believe he was in his early sixties. He had been sober about 20 years when he died.
It's always amazed me that people can recover or even survive drinking that much for that long. I've never known a woman who survived it, only men. They are always either married or have families who take care of them and make sure they eat and don't freeze to death somewhere, so I suppose that's part of it. Jones had many people who cared about him, and most of them got sober before he did so they were there for him.
Yeah but his alzheimers was probably due to the drinking.
Aren't you thinking of Glen Campbell, R34? The HuffPo report said that he cancelled a concert appearance last week when he fell ill. I can't imagine an 81 y.o. with Alzheimer's on the road. (My 85 y.o. mother has it.)
Does drinking cause Alzheimers, R34? I did not know that.
Wow-First R21 I agree with you 100%. Loved George Jones- one of the greatest voices in the world. My favorite song is one I first heard on " Mad Men"-"Cup of Loneliness "- he and Patsy and Hank had a loneliness in their DNA. None of the new ones can touch that talent. Even if they has it modern Nashville would choke it out. He was never some frat boy/ cowboy.
Also strange how major addicts can live so long after they get sober. It's our Purtian vein that thinks they should be punished.
And I also believe that Tammy's husband killed her. I saw her once in concert. She was amazing too.
[quote]And I also believe that Tammy's husband killed her. I saw her once in concert. She was amazing too.
Interesting. I don't know much about her and GJ beyond the bare bones basics. Why do you believe he killed her? That would actually be a good topic for a thread...
I've been a little weepy ever since I heard about George. What a magnificent voice we lost yesterday.
He started out imitating Hank Williams but found a voice that was really nothing like Williams' pleasant but twangy instrument.
Here's one of the witty duets he recorded with Tammy.