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George Jones (1931-2013)

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A selection of George Jones’s Copyright deposits in the Music Division collection. Photo by Pat Padua.

In the Muse was saddened to learn that classic country singer George Jones died today. The 81-yr old performer was in the process of completing what was to be his farewell concert tour.

George Glenn Jones was born in 1931 inSaratoga,Texas.  His early career reads like something out of American myth.  When Jones turned 16 he left his hometown for Jasper,Texas, where he knew a family on Highway 63 and was introduced to local musician Dalton Henderson. Jones and Henderson sang on local station KTXJ, and played boozy venues with names like the Log Cabin.

Country music is full of stories about sin and redemption, and Jones’s volatile life fueled the whole spectrum of his work.  One of his biggest early hits, “White Lightnin'” (1959) was a frenetic paean to moonshine, but he also recorded gospel music throughout his career.  As his instrument matured, Jones’s patient phrasing grew into one of the most expressive voices in country music.  In 2008, the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress named the heartbreaking 1980 hit, “He stopped loving her today” to the National Recording Registry.   Those who consider art to be more consolation than commerce will find bitter solace in this statistic:  the signature lament is more popular on the funeral home circuit than on country music radio.

Jones is better known as an interpreter than a songwriter, but the Music Division’s coffers hold a number of Possum’s own compositions, including “Tall, tall trees,” a 1957 collaboration with Roger Miller (best known for “King of the road”) and numerous collaborations with then-wife Tammy Wynette. In the Muse hopes its readers put on their George Jones records tonight and toast him to the big honky tonk in the sky.

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Comments (13)

  1. I hope someone will place a wreath upon his door. Sad day 🙁

  2. My heart is heavy as George Jones was my favorite of all time. My prayers go out to Nancy and the family. I’ve seen him several times but was still going to see him again in Columbus Ohio this year. Most of all I’m so glad he got saved and gave his life to the Lord. God Bless each of you with all my love and prayers Barbara

  3. We’ll miss you George. You lightened the burdens of life with with song, and no one done it any better. Our condolence’s go out to the family.

  4. Two original voices of American music passed recently Richie Havens and George Jones both from different worlds, but both possessing gifts of soulful singing and story telling that have enriched our lives in more ways then we’ll ever know.

    Your music will live forever!

  5. The radio stations are playing tributes. I haven’t heard him on the radio in ages, but that’s ok. I have many of his old records and listen often. Especially his gospels.

  6. Thank you for the wonderful tribute to George Jones. He was one of a kind! We will miss him, but are thankful for his music which will live on.

  7. There was no one like him.his style of singing has knotted together many years of pleasant listening for his many fans. We had him here in Ireland and we listened to his songs sung by a play mate called Ray Lynam at our ballrooms. you could sing along with George and dance to eternity. may he rest in peace.

  8. I’m a relative of Dalton’s and am in touch w/wife Jo. We just went thru lots of photo’s of Dalton and George on my last trip to TX in Nov! They were awesome pics of George when he was young. I grew up listening to him and of course knowing Dalton and Jo it was almost a requirement LOL. He will be sorely missed in the Country Music community…country music has changed.

  9. I grew up listen to George Jones to his family I send my prayers he will be very missed as the say “Who’s Going To Feel His Shoes” he was and will remain the King Of Country” He never acted like he was better then anyone he was human with a heart.. Play on George !!!!

  10. Loved his music, was honored to see him perform live once. “All Fall Down” one of my all-time favorites. What a soulful voice. Gone but not forgotten.

  11. in country music George jones is as close to being god like as you can get, the man, the legend.

  12. The family that 16 year old George was the Birmingham family in Victoria Texas. He spent time with them being my grandparents and mother, with meals and he sang to the family. He would bring his guitar over and play and sing. He also spent time with my young mother 16, and according to her he asked her to move with him when he left Victoria.

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