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The Country Sounds of George Jones

I love listening to a variety of music including country music. Mostly I prefer old-time country singers like Johnny Cash and George Jones. It was a sad day indeed when on April 26, 2013 country singer George Jones died in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 81. He left behind a great legacy and many wonderful country tunes. Among his most popular hit songs are “White Lightning,” “Walk Through This World With Me” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” His career stretched for about a 60-year span and Jones had over 140 Top 40 country hits among them 14 number one songs He was looked at as one of the greatest country singers of all time.

George Jones came into this world on September 12, 1931, in Saratoga, Texas. Growing up he started singing and playing the guitar and as a teenager was singing on local radio. A disc jockey nicknamed him “Possum” because of his close-set eyes and upturned nose. In the early 1950s, he served in the Marines. His first single was released in 1954 but his first top-five country hit came the following year “Why Baby Why” and in 1959 finally a number one hit with “White Lightning”. A string of hits followed among them “The Window Up Above”, “Tender Years”, “She Thinks I Still Care”, “The Race Is On” and “Walk Through This World With Me”.

Jones married country singer Tammy Wynette in 1969, who was known for her hit single “Stand by Your Man”. The couple had a stormy marriage but did record and tour together until their divorce in 1975. Their hit duets included “The Ceremony”, “We’re Gonna Hold On”, “(We’re Not) the Jet Set”, “Golden Ring”, “Near You” and “Two Story House”. The very last album they recorded together was titled One in 1995.

Jones often ran into trouble when he was offstage due to his erratic behavior, drinking, and drug use. Soon it all began to affect his career and he began to miss scheduled appearances and became known as “No-Show Jones”. He finally got his act together in the 1980s and married for the fourth time. Once again he recorded hit songs like “He Stopped Loving Her Today” for which he won a Grammy Award as Best Male Vocal Performance. It was also named Song of the Year by the Country Music Association.

In 1992 Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He published a best-selling autobiography, “I Lived to Tell It All” in 1996. Jones was almost killed in an auto accident when he drove his SUV into the side of a bridge not far from his Tennessee home in 1999. Luck was with him and he was able to continue recording and touring in the 21st century. He was honored by the Kennedy Center in 2008 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. When he died on April 26, 2013, his funeral was held at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee where politicians, the former First Lady Laura Bush, and many, many country stars were in attendance.

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