Saturday, 27 April 2013

George Jones, Country Music Hall of Famer, dies aged 81

George Jones, Country Music Hall of Famer, dies aged 81

George Jones: Factfile, Billboard Chart Success, Country Artist and radio Tributes, Links to: Articles, Videos, Interviews and Audio

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George Jones Library photos CLICK to ENLARGE

George Jones, Country Music Hall of Famer and master of blue-flame weepers, dies at age 81.

US country singer George Jones, who had a string of number one songs between the 1950s and 1990s, has died aged 81.
Jones publicist, Kirt Webster, said the Grammy-winning singer was admitted to hospital for fever and irregular blood pressure and died on Friday April 26, 2013. (Read the Official Webster & Associates Press Release)
According to the Associated Press Mr. Jones, known for his clenched, precise baritone released more than 150 albums, and while he never crossed over into the rock or pop world, he was admired by country artists and non-country artists alike (Frank Sinatra, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello, James Taylor and countless others)
Mr Jones became the champion and symbol of traditional country music, a well-lined link to his hero, Hank Williams
As Waylon Jennings sang in “It’s Alright”: “If we all could sound like we wanted to, we’d all sound like George Jones.”

A singer who can soar from a deep growl to dizzying heights, he is the undisputed successor of earlier natural geniuses such as Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell,” wrote Bob Allen in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s “Encyclopedia of Country Music.”

George Jones Factfile

  • He was born in Saratoga Texas on 12 September 1931
  • Jones played guitar for tips on the streets of Beaumont as a teenager before going on to serve in the US Marine Corps.
  • He returned to Texas to record for the Starday label in Houston. In January 1954 he cut his first record an original called “No Money in This Deal.”
  • He achieved his first top ten hit in 1955 with “Why Baby Why”.
  • Known for his precise baritone and evocative voice, Jones' first number one song, “White Lightning” (Mercury Records)  came in 1959, it topped the Billboard country charts for five weeks. It was followed by “Tender Years” in 1961.
  • Jones recorded more than 160 charting singles, more than any other artist in any format in the history of popular music.
  • His battle with alcoholism and cocaine addiction frequently derailed his career and at one point his reputation for cancelling performances earned him the nickname “No-Show Jones”.
  • He divorced his second wife Shirley Ann Corley after 14 years of marriage in 1968. Jones married Tammy Wynette a year later.
  • Between 1969 and 1975 George Jones and Tammy Wynette recorded several songs and toured together in the 1970s. They divorced in 1975 but later resumed recording together. As Jones' addiction problem worsened, so too did his marriage to Wynette, who later claimed he once came at her with a gun.The couple's only daughter, Tamala is also a country singer under the name Georgette Jones. (Childhood photo) (>>  Video interview  2012)
  • Jones had a string of top 10 songs during the 1960s and 1970s including "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me" (Her Memory Will), “Window Up Above”, “She Thinks I Still Care”, “Good Year for the Roses”, “The Race Is On”.
  • In 1971 Jones signed with Epic Records working with producer Billy Sherrill to score hits “The Grand Tour” (No.11), “Bartenders Blues” and many more
  • Nicknamed “Possum” [because of his marsupial resemblance], his signature song recorded in 1980, was “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, a track about love and death. The song, which he said was his favourite, revived a flagging career.
  • In 1980 and 1981 he won Country Music Award's Top Male Vocalist award. He also earned a Grammy for Best Male Country vocal performance.
  • In 1983, Jones married the former Nancy Ford Sepulvado. The union, he repeatedly said, began his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol and prolonged his life.
  • In 1990 he signed with MCA Records enjoying a successful run.
  • In 1992 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • 1996: Autobiography “I Lived to Tell It All” (Villard Books, 1996) is released
  • In 1998 his guest vocal on Patty Loveless’ “You Don’t Seem To Miss Me” won a CMA award for Top Vocal Event it became his final Top 20 country hit.
  • In 1999, Jones nearly died in a car wreck, but he recovered and resumed touring and recording.
  • In April 2012 The Tennesean reported that George Jones and daughter Georgette Lennon were in the middle of a now-public family feud . Lennon said their relationship became strained a couple years previous when she became friends with her two brothers from Jones' second marriage. Jones had a falling out with his two sons about 20 years ago, and did not communicate with them. Georgette said her relationship with her father reached a breaking point  when she was planning her Oct 29, 2012 wedding.
  • In late 2012, Jones announced his farewell tour, which was to conclude with a sold-out, star-packed show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on November 22, 2013. Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Charlie Daniels, Kenny Rogers, Lorrie Morgan, Jamey Johnson, Gene Watson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Pam Tillis, Kathy Mattea, Tracy Lawrence, Patty Loveless, Joe Diffie, Mark Chesnutt, T. Graham Brown, Cyndi Lauper, Don McLean, Billy Ray Cyrus and many others were set to perform at Jones’ Bridgestone show. See Press Release
  • Jones is survived by his loving wife of 30 years Nancy Jones, his sister Helen Scroggins, and by his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 
Billboard Chart Success

1950’s - 1955: Jones’ first Top 5 hit, “Why, Baby, Why,” which he co-wrote, was released. 1959: “White Lightning” becomes Mr.Jones’ first No. 1 hit.
1960’s – He was bettered only by Buck Owens in terms of chart success during the 1960s.
 Jones achieved three of his 13 No. 1 singles during that decade on three different labels.
He tallied 78 Hot Country Songs Top 10s, the third-best total all-time, after Eddy Arnold's 92 and George Strait's 85.
1960 – His self-penned hit, "The Window Up Above" stayed 34 weeks on the Billboard chart 1960-61, but peaked at No. 2.

1961 - Jones biggest single came relatively early in his career when the plaintive "Tender Years" logged 32 chart weeks and spent eight weeks at No. 1. >> Audio
1962 - Jones moved to United Artists Records scoring a No. 1 hit with his first United Artists recording, a Dickey Lee song pitched to him by Cowboy Jack Clement called “She Thinks I Still Care.”

1970’s - As his personal life began to spiral out of control he did however score five more chart toppers before the end of the decade, three of those were duets with Tammy Wynette: “We're Gonna Hold On" 1973 (written by George Jones and Earl Montgomery); “Golden Ring” 1976 (written by Bobby Braddock and  Rafe VanHoy) and “Near You” 1976 penned by Francis Craig and Kermit Goell.
1980’s - "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (Epic Label), written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman and produced by Billy topped Hot Country Songs in 1980 >> Video.
Jones thought the song too maudlin, but Sherrill was convinced it would be a major hit.
In 1983 he scored the last of his No. 1 singles with "I Always Get Lucky with You" (writers: Merle Haggard, Freddy Powers, Gary Church, and Tex Whitson) 
>> Audio  He continued to have top 10 hits on Epic through the end of the decade.

1990’s – He left the Epic Label for MCA Nashville in 1990. His best solo showing was "High-Tech Redneck" (writers Byron Hill, and Zack Turner) in 1994. It peaked at No.30 on Hot Country Songs and was certified GOLD.
 He returned to the chart (coincidentally on Epic) as the featured artist on Patty Loveless' "You Don't Seem to Miss Me," written by Jim Lauderdale, which reached No. 14 on Hot Country Songs in 1997. That >> track won the CMA Vocal Event of the Year.

Jones signed with Asylum in 1998, Jones released the haunting "Choices,"
>> Video (written by Billy Yates and Mike Curtis) which stopped at No. 30 on Hot Country Songs, but went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal performance by a male artist. In 1999 “Choices” became the final Top 40 country solo hit of Mr. Jones’ life,

2000’s – In 2001 "Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?)" a duet with Garth Brooks which peaked at No. 24.

Billboard launched the Top Country Albums chart in 1964. He peaked at No. 3 with The Best of George Jones. He had been active for nearly a decade previous to that chart launch.
Jones has placed 96 titles on that chart, outpaced only by Johnny Cash's 103 charted albums (Jones has one more chart entry that Willie Nelson, who placed his 95th title on the May 4 chart).
No.1 Billboard Country albums were I'M A PEOPLE (Musicor)  released in May 1966 and GOLDEN RING (with Tammy Wynette) released by Epic in 1976.

RIAA Album Certifications
US Platinum (1,000,000 units sold):
I Am What I Am (1980) US Platinum (certified in Dec 1983)
Super Hits (1987) US 2 X Platinum (certified in Nov 2002)

US Gold (500,000 units sold):
Still The Same Ole Me (1981 - certified by RIAA in Dec 1990);
Cold Hard Truth (1999 - certified in Mar 2000);
10 Years Of Hits (1982 - certified in Sep 1989) ; Wine Colored Roses (1986 - certified in Dec 1994); High Tech Redneck (1993 - certified in July 2001);
16 Biggest Hits (1998 - certified in Nov 2002) ,
50 Years Of Hits (2004 - certified in Oct 2005);
Walls Can Fall (1992 -certified in Oct 1994)
George Jones & Tammy Wynette “Greatest Hits” (1977 - certified in Sep 1995)

Top 10 George Jones Songs
When George Jones was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, Reba McEntire introduced the legend by saying “there are many ways to describe Country Music, but I can do it in just two words: George Jones.”
From 1964's ‘The Race Is On’ to 1980's ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ and the triumphant come-back of 1999′s ‘Choices,’ these are not only the greatest hits from the man known as “the Possum” — these are some of country music’s greatest hits overall.
Check them out at Taste Of Country

George Jones Discography available at Amazon UK - UK iTunes
(27 April 2013) “The Definitive Country Collection George Jones” is now #11 on
 Amazon UK MP3 chart
The George Jones Collection, Vol. 1 is at #25 - Amazon UK MP3

Wall to Wall Possum on SPOTIFY


The Tennessean - The King of Broken Hearts remembered:
Songwriter Bobby Braddock, who provided Jones with 29 songs over the decades, says George Jones elevated "He Stopped Loving Her Today":

HI RES Press Photo
George Jones 1931 – 2013 >
Photo Gallery -

Country Weekly was fortunate to conduct George’s final interview this past February at his home in Nashville. Extract: “When an old car gets 81, it starts sputtering,” he told CW then. Still, he was looking ahead to his planned final show in November, an all-star salute featuring Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, Kid Rock and others. “Yeah, it’s looking great,” he said of the lineup, before adding with a chuckle, “unless they’re playing a trick on me.”  Magazine Image - JPEG

AOL The BootMakes Peace With His Nicknames "When you're called 'The Possum' ... it stays with me. There's no way I can ever live it down," George told The Boot with a laugh. "T. Tommy Cutrer was a disc jockey. Everybody loved him. He was one of the old-timers on the all-night shows along with Ralph Emery, and those two got started calling me 'The Possum.'"I had an album out with a side view of me with a crew cut. I was very young, and my nose looked more turned up, and I've got little beady eyes so I guess I did look like a possum! So they both laid into me and called me 'Possum,' and it got everywhere. There was no way I could stop that, so (I thought) I'll just have to live with that!"

BBC  by Mark Hagen (Producer, Radio 2's Bob Harris Country)- George Jones: A man falling apart in front of you

CMT: About George Jones (Bio)

The Tennessean: Master of sad ballads, dies at age 81 by Peter Cooper (who never disappoints!) - 5 Things To Know About Country Legend George Jones

George Jones Remembered..Holly Gleason Cries in Her Beer Over the Death of a Country Legend
Extract: George Jones scared me. Growing up, I spent time on a farm near a dynamite fuse factory that employed what my mother less than charitably referred to as “Hill Williams”—that brazen, blazing emotionalism, too fraught, too full-tilt, too frenzied to contain, which would come pouring out of the neighbor’s screened windows in the summer, some kind of blaze of twisted, lonely and madness -approaching ache. .......Chemistry was so much a part of Jones’ appeal—and terror. When he and Wynette, whose marriage was a stormy series of bust-ups, make-ups and duets that let a pre-reality-TV America peak in their bedroom window, sang “Golden Ring” or “We’re Gonna Hold On,” they were the poster couple not for Country music, so much as a generation struggling with the notion that divorce was a very real thing.

CMT written by Holly Gleason George Jones: The King of Broken Hearts - He Ignited Songs With His Voice
Extract: His was a voice of kerosene teardrops about to burst into a raging fire. When George Jones sang a song, there was never any doubt that he committed completely to whatever emotion -- usually one of raw ache, unfiltered regret, unspeakable torment -- the song held.And he could pick 'em. "Window Up Above," "Good Year for the Roses," "The Grand Tour," "Walk Through This World With Me," "If My Heart Had Windows" were all trenchant moments in the caverns of the human heart. Even his novelty songs were world class, be it the hiccupping "White Lightning," the horse track metaphoric "The Race Is On" or, in later years, the feisty all-star "I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair."


Country star Garth Brooks paid tribute to the singer saying: "The greatest voice to ever grace country music will never die. Jones has a place in every heart that ever loved any kind of music”.
Brooks a longtime fan and friend of Jones recorded a duet with him in 2001 called “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?)”

"My heart is absolutely broken.  George Jones was my all time favorite singer and one of my favorite people in the world.  My heart goes out to Nancy and all his family and friends." - Dolly Parton

"The world has lost the greatest country singer of all time. Amen." -  Merle Haggard

Scores of touching reactions and statements to George Jones’ Passing from the Country Music Community and beyond shared in this Webster & Associates Press Release
Country Music Stars released statements On Passing Of George Jones:

It was “wall to wall Possum” on Nashville’s radio station The Legend 650 AM WSM with tributes by Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and Jim Lauderdale. Listeners phoned in to share memories and request favourite George Jones tracks from the catalog of the “Rolls Royce” country singer >> Audio Link

Listen to BBC Radio Norfolk's Keith Greentree (BBC page) as radio listeners share their thoughts on George Jones
 >> Audio Link   [“Rodeo Norfolk” broadcasts each Saturday 9am – 12]

Country artists paid their tributes on Twitter -

Male Artists:
Alan Jackson @OfficialJackson  Heaven better get ready for George Jones. He will always be the greatest singer of real country music – there’ll never be another.
Billy Dean - "George Jones was a mentor and a giant to my generation of country singers. He was there for my first Ralph Emery Show appearance.
Billy Yates @billyyatesmusic My heart is broken...
Note - Rather ironic but fitting that Billy Yates’ new single and title cut from the forthcoming album  "Only One George Jones" has been Top of the Hotdisc Top 40 the last 3 weeks. Listen at or >> Audio
Its available on Amazon UK &   2013 Dublin Music Group/Lucky Irish Music (BMI)

Blake Shelton @blakeshelton Really REALLY bad news. We've lost a country music legend. And I've lost a hero and a friend.  Goodbye George Jones...
Brad Paisley @BradPaisley My friend,the greatest singer of all time,has passed.To those who knew him,our lives were full. To those of you who don't: discover him now.
George Jones' life is an example of so many wonderful things; How someone's God-given gifts can make this a richer, better place. How one human being can overcome adversity, addiction, and life threatening obstacles time and time again. That it is not the stumble or fall that counts, but the willingness to stand again. How a keen sense of humor and a twinkle in a person's eye can still prevail eve...n after all of life's hard knocks. How mistakes, missteps, and bad choices are not the end of the world if a person chooses to turn them into something good. And George's life is above all the strongest example of how the love of a great woman can get a man through anything. All of this made its way beautifully into every note of the greatest voice country music will ever know and one of the greatest friends you could ever have.  We miss you already, George – Brad (Facebook)

Cowboy Jack Clement [Producer, a 50-year friend of Jones] - “I think George is probably the greatest country singer who ever lived. And I’m not alone in that opinion. All the artists loved him. The music just flows out of him. It’s the most natural thing.”
Clint Black @Clint_Black 56m @gjpossum Very sad farewell to George Jones. Deepest sympathies to Nancy and the family.
Easton Corbin @eastoncorbin  What a sad day for country music. George Jones was one of my heroes
Hank Williams, Jr. @HankJr  Sad day in Country music.  We've lost another piece of history.  @gjpossum was not only a good singer, but a good friend. He will be missed!

Jason Aldean @JasonAldean So sad to hear abt the passing of George Jones. Country music has lost one of our pioneers & legendary icons. You will never be forgotten
Jeff Bates @Jeff_Bates One Of My Heroes, George Jones Has Passed Away!!!
John Rich @johnrich by gjpossum Every serious country artist in the past 30 years has some #georgejones dna in their blood and music. My God. We've lost our Elvis.
Keith Urban @KeithUrban  If I'm blessed enough to make it there, I look forward to you giving me the grand tour. Rest in peace George Jones!!!!! -KU
Kenny Rogers @KennyRogers  Sad morning losing the great George Jones. He will always be one of the most amazing singers who ever lived
Mark Chesnutt @MarkChesnutt  My heart goes out to Nancy and the family.  I'm gonna miss him.
Mel Tillis - "I met George when he came to Nashville and we became good friends.  I'm really going to miss him.  The world has lost the greatest singer to have ever lived."
Merle Haggard (L) with
Mr.George Jones

Merle Haggard @merlehaggard  The world may have lost the greatest country singer that ever lived

Randy Houser @RandyHouser Rest in Peace George Jones.  Sad day
Ricky Skaggs @RickySkaggs  "THE Country Music singer of all time. The words 'Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes' has never been more true than today."-Ricky Skaggs
Rodney Atkins @RodneyAtkins Sending prayers & love to Nancy & the whole Jones family & all of @gjpossum's fans & friends. George Jones was a true country music legend
Sammy Kershaw - "George Jones has been a major part of my personal and professional life for a long time.  I have been inspired by his music for the last 50 years and for 42 of those, I had the pleasure of knowing him personally and professionally.  He was IT to me
Tate Stevens @tatestevensctry  Sad day for the Country Music world, legend George Jones is gone! Thanks for decades of great music!!!
Tim McGraw  @TheTimMcGraw  Gone ...... George Jones he was country music
Toby Keith @TobyKeithMusic George Jones has passed. Damn. Thought he'd live forever. Let's break out his catalogue and play it all day Godspeed possum and family. - T
Tracy Lawrence @tracy_lawrence  I am so saddened by the news of George Jones' passing.I will always treasure our times together
Travis Tritt - "I am just devastated by the news that George Jones has passed away! The music world has lost one of the most original and innovative talents that the world has ever known....
Vince Gill - "There aren't words in our language to describe the depth of his greatness. I'll miss my kind and generous friend."

Female Artists:
Ashley Monroe - "Wow. Sweet George SURE will be missed down here. But I can only imagine the celebration Heaven is having today."
Deborah Allen @deborahallen3  Deborah released a Facebook statement on the passing: I'll never forget the incredible experience of singing with George and I will always remember his wonderful sense of humor and down to earth soul.
Before I wrote the liner note for his Ladies Choice album, I said a prayer for the right words to a worthy quote that would come close to reflecting the way I feel about George. Here is that quote and it will always be true.
"We are all God's own individual works of art. In country music, George Jones is his masterpiece..." Deborah Allen
“Our Love Was Ahead Of Its Time" (Duet) >> YouTube

Dolly Parton - My heart is absolutely broken. George Jones was my all time favorite singer and one of my favorite people in the world. My heart goes out to Nancy and the rest of his family - Facebook
Gretchen Peters - So sad to hear George Jones is no longer with us. My very first cut as a songwriter was by him [“Travellers Prayer”]  I was spoiled for life. The greatest country singer ever.  George Jones w/Sweethearts of the Rodeo >> YouTube
Jaida Dreyer - My heart is broken over the passing of George Jones. Sadness reigns.
Jennifer Nettles @JenniferNettles I'll never forget the first time I heard the story in "He Stopped Loving Her Today". RIP George Jones. Country Legend. U will be missed.
Kathie Baillie of Baillie & The Boys “His voice will live on forever in my heart. There will never be another!”
Kellie Pickler @kelliepickler It's a sad day in the country music heart cries over the loss of George Jones.

LeAnn Rimes Cibrian @leannrimes So sad we lost "the possum" today. R.I.P George Jones and know we didn't stop loving you today. You will live on forever in our hearts.
Loretta Lynn - Jones' death will have a significant impact on all of his friends in the country music industry.
Lorrie Morgan - "Country music lost an icon today and I have lost a dear and beloved friend. With tear-filled eyes, I'm reminiscing this morning about all that I learned from and loved about George Jones.  He was part of my 'country music education;' he made country music history and, in my opinion, George Jones is a song's best friend.  No one will leave an imprint on my life like George did."
Martina McBride @martinamcbride  So sad to hear about George Jones . His voice and music will be with us forever. Thoughts go out to all his family, friends and fans
Michelle Wright - Oh my, we've lost another great legend. RIP George Jones.
Pam Tillis - "Country music as we know it would be vastly different if it weren't for George Jones.  He's in our musical DNA.  All country artists will have to figure out how to even begin to live up to his kind of legacy.
Reba McEntire @reba  My prayers go out to Nancy Jones today. Her partner and husband George Jones passed this morning.  We'll miss George
Susie McEntire - George Jones. Thanks for all you did for us. Rest in Peace
Teea Goans - Sad to hear of the passing of the great George Jones. Prayers are with his family and fans

EliYoungBand @EliYoungBand  RIP George "Possum" Jones
Florida Georgia Line @FLAGALine Country music wasn't the same when he came around and now that he's gone it won't be again. RIP George Jones
Lucy Angel - It was always an honor to hang with The Rolls Royce of Country Music. RIP George Jones. Much love to you Nancy
Hillary Scott @HillaryScottLA Saddened by the passing of George Jones. Sending prayers up for his wife and family. Country Music will never be the same.
Restless Heart - "The greatest most soulful voice in history is gone. RIP George Jones… the guys of Restless Heart will miss you greatly."
Sweethearts of the Rodeo - "Sharing the same vocal booth with George Jones on 'Traveller's Prayer' was without a doubt THE highlight of our career
The Band Perry  @thebandperry  Country music and the world lost a true legend today… Mr. Jones, you will be greatly missed

Ryman Auditorium @TheRyman  Today we are saddened by the loss of one of country music's greatest, George Jones. The mother church… - Country Stars Reflect on His Legacy

Keith Urban Chat:
Video 51: Rest In Peace George Jones
 >> YouTube

Excllent Library Photos & artists' reactions at CMA Close UP

You can share your love, prayers and memories with Nancy at

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