George Jones died today. If your notion of country music only goes back 10 years or so, this post might not be for you.
As people started to react to the news, I noticed there was some surprise at how old George was. He was 81 but he lived the hell out of those 81 years.
Here is George from 1962:
How cool was that? Straight forward. Just a man and his guitar and that incredible voice. I am an old school country music fan. That video is such a wonderful example of how country music was delivered on tv back then.
Between that video and this next one, George Jones had a fairly eventful life. All of it was affected by his drinking. He was called “No Show” because of the gigs he missed due to his dedication to the bottle.
There is a funny/sad story of the day his second wife hid all the keys to their vehicles so George could not drive to the liquor store. Undeterred, he drove his riding mower into town.
All that living like a country song was hard on him and the people around him, both personally and professionally. As he did battle with his demons and his popularity began to suffer, a song was brought to his attention. He hated the song. It was too morbid. It took forever to get a decent take of it.
Trust me though on this. There was not a jukebox worth its salt that didn’t have this song on it.
This was released just before the Urban Cowboy craze took hold. Bars made room for mechanical bulls. Guys who had no business wearing cowboy hats were wearing them everywhere. There was a surge in the popularity of country music thanks to the movie.
Maybe it takes a lifetime of hard living to deliver a performance like this one:
That song cemented George Jones as a legend in country music.
He was in the middle of a tour when his health failed him.
I didn’t mention his marriage to Tammy Wynette. She was a country music superstar and her song “Stand By Your Man” is known by all. Three notes in, you know what is coming. George and Tammy had a daughter, Georgette. She is a singer and made a video with her Dad from a song she wrote.
I think this is a nice way to end this post.