I never thought I would be doing a tribute to another legend, my second in a week. We lost another great one last week, George Jones, country music will never be the same. I have never been a big fan of honky-tonk music, which is what it was called when I was a kid, but my mom and dad were both big fans. George Jones was my mom’s favorite country western singer. I associated George with his ex-wife Tammy Wynette. When George’s song, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” came out in 1980, we had just lost my dad, it really hit home with my mom. I go through phases where I like to listen to country western music and then maybe a few months later it’s over. My favorite were the likes of the Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Eddie Rabbit, Barbara Mandrell just to name a few. Country music has lost its twang over the years; it’s more an easy type of listening. Here is my tribute of the legendary, George Jones.
George Glen Jones was born Sept. 12, 1931 in Saratoga, Texas, but he was raised in Vidor, Texas. At an early age, George grew a great love for music. He loved the gospel music he heard in church and loved the Carter Family records. George’s parents bought their first radio when George was 7 and it was then that he fell in love with county music. At the age of 9, he was given his first guitar. At the age of 16, George left home and began playing and singing on a local radio station in Jasper, Texas. George was married twice before the age of 24. George married his first wife, Dorothy, and they divorced a year later, during this union, a son was born. He was married to his second wife, Shirley, from1954-1968 and they had 2 sons. In 1969 he married his third wife, Tammy Wynette. However they divorced in 1975, they only had one daughter. In 1983 he married his fourth and now wife Nancy, whom he remained married to, until his death. During the Korean War, George enlisted in the USMC; he was stationed in California where he served out his military obligations. It was soon after his discharge that his music career took off.
George had more than 150 hits in his career as a soloist and singing duets with other artists. In his career he never left the top of the country music charts. Even during the many personal and professional aspects of his life. Drinking, stormy relationships with women, and violent rages filled his life. Wild life styles led to the missing of many performances and getting the nick-name, “No Show Jones.” His fourth wife, Nancy, helped George with his recovery and he remained sober until his death.
In George’s later years, he voiced his disappointment with the direction country music was going. In his autobiography, George talked about being replaced on the playlists with a younger generation of artist such as Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, and Garth Brooks. These same men paid tribute to George by expressing their love and respect for his legacy as a true legend who paved the way for their success.
George was honored many times in his career. In 1956 he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, that same year he was also awarded for “Most Promising New Country Vocalist.” In 1992, he was inducted into the “Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2008 he was named a “Kennedy Center Honoree,” and in 2012, he got a Grammy for “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Here are some of George’s biggest hits:
1962…”She Thinks I Still Care”
1973…”We’re Going To Hold On” with Tammy Wynette
1976…”Golden Ring” with Tammy Wynette
1989…”He Stopped Loving Her Today”
1981…”I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” with Barbara Mandrell
George Jones died from fever and unregulated blood pressure. There will be a funeral and it will be open to the public. He thought it only fair his fans could give their respects to himself and his family. Those memorializing George at his funeral will be Laura Bush, Tennessee’s Governor, Bill Haslam, Barbara Mandrell, Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock, Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels, and a few more.
It is sad that we have to lose our legends but we all have to die, right? Legends will come and go but some will stay legends forever. As life goes on George Jones will be one of those that is not forgotten. Fifty years from now people will still be playing, singing, and remembering George Jones and I think that’s the way it should be. I bet that my mom now gets to hear her favorite country music artist, George Jones, singing her favorite song, with my dad by her side. What a meeting that will be for her.