Music / George Jones

"If we could all sing like we wanted to, we'd all sound like George Jones."

George Glenn Jones (19312013) was, to say the least, one of the most important Country Music singers of all time, and given his influence on a large number of very important rock-and-roll singers, was arguably one of the most important pop singers as well. Active from the early fifties to his death in 2013, he has had an incredibly fruitful career that includes nearly 170 single releases in all. He is widely regarded as one of the most skilled and distinctive vocalists in country music history, and is considered by many country music artists and scholars to be the greatest ever.

Among all of his songs, "He Stopped Loving Her Today", a song written about his break-up with his then-wife Tammy Wynette, is often cited as the best country music song of all time. (Ironically, its only real competition for the title is "Stand By Your Man" a song Tammy Wynette wrote about her relationship with Jones). Others, such as "A Good Year for the Roses" and "The Grand Tour", have attained legendary status in country music canon.

Jones first recorded for Starday Records in the 1950s, followed by stints on Mercury, United Artists Records and Musicor. He was no stranger to the troubles that often plagued A-list musicians in his time, either. By 1968, he began drinking heavily and missing shows. His marriage broke up, but he soon wed fellow singer Tammy Wynette, with whom he would record a large number of duets. A dispute over the label's rights regarding duets between the two led to him jumping ship for Wynette's label, Epic Records, where he would stay from 1971 until 1990.

This change in labels also shifted him to a more ballad-oriented sound, with which he would stick. After he and Wynette divorced, Jones started hitting the bottle and cocaine, causing him to miss more shows and earn the Fan Nickname "No-Show Jones." He went to rehab, but it didn't do much until 1983; nonetheless, the hits kept coming until the end of the decade. By 1990, a switch to MCA brought a couple of critically-acclaimed albums but no hits. By the time he moved to Asylum Records in the end of the decade, his traditional sound was highly out of favor against the crossover-happy sound still present today. Nonetheless, Jones left a massive influences on the neotraditionalist acts of the eighties, and his songs are widely recorded to this day. In terms of influence and lasting impact, he is arguably the second most important male country artist after Hank Williams.

George Jones passed away on April 26, 2013 after being hospitalized for over a week for a fever and irregular blood pressure.

Tropes present:

  • Advertised Extra: On Shooter Jennings' "4th of July" he sang a few bars of "He Stopped Loving Her Today" at the end, and still received chart credit despite his part being cut out of the radio edit.
  • Breakup Song: "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is one of the best examples out there. The breakup is because the male in the song died.
  • Call-and-Response Song: The last chorus to "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair" has ten other country stars echoing Jones's lead.
  • Destructo-Nookie: The lyrics to "Leavin' Love All Over The Place" celebrate it:
    The lady at the rooming house
    Served our eviction notice yesterday.
    While we were pickin' up our clothes
    She started screaming somebody's gonna pay.

    She said it takes a dozen carpenters
    To fix the broken bed and drapes
    But we just never learned to love
    Without leavin' love all over the place.
  • Dual Meaning Chorus: Played with on "The One I Loved Back Then". Both choruses refer to the same thing, and the dual meaning is achieved through misdirection (the other person in the song thinks that the chorus is referring to a woman, not a car).
  • Hillbilly Moonshiner: "White Lightning" is told from the POV of the moonshiner's son.
  • I Hate Past Me: "Choices":
    I've had choices since the day that I was born
    There were voices that told me right from wrong
    If I had listened, no I wouldn't be here today
    Living and dying with the choices I've made
  • London England Syndrome: His duet with Tammy Wynette, "(We're Not) The Jet Set", has the couple recounting their travels to Rome (Georgia), Athens (Texas), and Paris (Tennessee).
  • Long Runner: Around 60 years.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: "I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair" had Vince Gill, Mark Chesnutt, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, Joe Diffie, Alan Jackson, Pam Tillis, T. Graham Brown, Patty Loveless, and Clint Black participating in a call-and-response at the end.
  • Refrain from Assuming: No, it's not "Hotter Than a Two-Dollar Pistol." It's "The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song)."
  • Sound Effect Bleep: "Her Name Is..." uses notes on a clavinet to self-censor ("Her name is [note note note] / Her eyes are [note]..."). Longtime producer Billy Sherrill has often said the blanks referred to ex-wife Tammy Wynette.