News / Arts & Entertainment

    Music Fans Mourn Country Legend George Jones

    FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2007 file photo, George Jones is shown in Nashville, Tennessee.
    FILE - In this Jan. 10, 2007 file photo, George Jones is shown in Nashville, Tennessee.
    Mary Morningstar
    Music fans are mourning the loss of a true Country legend. George Jones, 81, died Friday at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center. 

    In 1955, Jones recorded “Why Baby Why,” his first hit for Starday Records.  Born in Saratoga, Texas, he began performing in local clubs at age 10.  In the late 1940s, he worked as a disc jockey at various radio stations in his home state, before entering the U.S. Marine Corps in 1950.  Three years later, Jones completed his military service and returned to the Texas nightclub circuit.  He was discovered by Starday’s founder, “Pappy” Dailey, who convinced Jones to record for his label. 

    Jones says his first studio session proved a great learning experience.

    “The first time I went in to do my first recording session, for about two hours I sang like Roy Acuff, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams," he said. "Finally, the producer came in the studio -- after he figured I’d had enough fun -- and he wanted to know if I could sing like George Jones.  So I said, ‘Oh, I didn't know that.  I thought I was supposed to sing like those people.’  They were selling records.  I didn’t know the difference, you know.”

    Remembering Country Legend George Jones
    Remembering Country Legend George Jonesi
    || 0:00:00
    ...    
     
    X

    After leaving Starday Records in 1957, Jones worked with several other labels.  In 1969, he joined Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, and the same year, married singer Tammy Wynette.  Their union lasted only six years, but during that time, they collaborated on numerous duets, including the Number One hits “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Near You” and “Golden Ring.”

    FILE - In this undated photo, Country singer George Jones is shown performing with his guitar.FILE - In this undated photo, Country singer George Jones is shown performing with his guitar.
    x
    FILE - In this undated photo, Country singer George Jones is shown performing with his guitar.
    FILE - In this undated photo, Country singer George Jones is shown performing with his guitar.
    Through much of his life, George Jones battled an addiction to alcohol that nearly ruined his professional career.  He earned the nickname “No Show Jones” for missing numerous concert dates.  At one point, lawsuits against him by show promoters seeking compensation forced Jones to declare bankruptcy.  He credited his fourth wife Nancy, whom he married in 1983, for helping him overcome his dependency to alcohol and giving his life new meaning.

    Countless singers, including Garth Brooks, George Strait, Alan Jackson and Randy Travis name George Jones as a major influence. 

    Bill Ivey, former director of the Country Music Foundation, once described the role Jones played in Country music.  
        
    “He has a unique vocal style that really is so special that it hasn’t been much imitated," he said. "I think people in contemporary Country music, who look back on George’s early work for inspiration, don’t try to sound like him.  They, I think, try to write like him and try to get that spirit into their interpretation.  What George Jones has is a constant presence of the real energy of Country music and I think it’s something that’s much admired.”

    At age 62, Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  The surprise announcement was made during the 1992 Country Music Association Awards telecast.  The overwhelmed performer described his feelings in this acceptance speech.

    “You know, I’ve won a lot of awards - I’m not bragging - a lot of awards over the period of years and each and every one of them was fantastic," he said. "They made you feel great. They kept you going and made you try harder and work harder, but this has got to be the greatest one in the world.  Country music has been awful good to me throughout a whole bunch of years, and I’ll tell you what, I’d like to just thank all the fans in the whole, wide world.”

    New pop-oriented trends have broadened Country music's boundaries in recent years, but never lessened the popularity of George Jones’ traditional sound.  Several of his peers, including Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Clint Black, Travis Tritt and Pam Tillis, fulfilled a life-long dream, when they collaborated with Jones on the Grammy Award-winning single, “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair.”

    On many occasions, George Jones said that he played, sang and wrote Country songs out of his deep love for the music.  Equally gratifying was his relationship with his fans. 

    Jones once revealed, “It’s not really that important to me, as far as glory, popularity and those things.  I just feel like I’m making people happy.  And they sure make me happy when I walk out on that stage.  That’s all that’s really important to me.”

    Country singer George Jones, (R) pictured with Tammy Wynette at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Oct. 4, 1995.Country singer George Jones, (R) pictured with Tammy Wynette at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Oct. 4, 1995.
    x
    Country singer George Jones, (R) pictured with Tammy Wynette at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Oct. 4, 1995.
    Country singer George Jones, (R) pictured with Tammy Wynette at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Oct. 4, 1995.
    In the early 1990s, Country music fans and musicians named Jones’ recording of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” as the greatest song of all time.  The single topped the chart in 1980 and earned Jones a Grammy and two Country Music Association awards.  His other industry honors included induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992.  Three years later, he teamed with his former wife Tammy Wynette to record the chart-topping album, “One.” 

    Jones autobiography, “I Lived To Tell It All,” was published in 1996, and an album of the same name followed.  MCA Records dropped him from its roster in 1998 and he later formed his own label, Bandit Records.
     
    In 1999, George Jones suffered life-threatening injuries when he lost control of his car and slammed into a bridge near his home.  After making a full recovery, he returned to recording and touring.  His last solo album, “Hits I Missed and One I Didn’t,” contains songs made famous by other artists, plus a newly recorded version of his signature tune, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”  

    Jones’ many accolades included a 2008 Kennedy Center Honor and a 2012 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  

    In late 2012, he kicked off his farewell tour, scheduled to conclude on November 22 in Nashville.  Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers and many other Country stars were set to perform at the show.

    During the past year, Jones had been hospitalized several times, most recently on April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Shelley Victor from: Savannah, Ga.
    April 26, 2013 6:51 PM
    My Mother LOVED George. She broke her arm getting on someone's shoulder just to see him at one of his concerts. He sang so Great. I Always get chills when I hear "He Stopped Lovin' Her today!!!!
    He WILL be Sadly Missed.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs