George Jones: "He Stopped Loving her Today" dies at 81 (Videos)

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2013 – A wreath has been laid at the door of George Jones, the hard-times, hard-living Country Western Hall of Fame singer died this morning. Growing up in what is called “The Big Thicket”, an area of East Texas where cotton was grown and whiskey was drunk, Jones grew up in a hardscrabble Depression era life before moving to Beaumont, Texas.

In Beaumont the young Jones learned to play guitar venturing into the East Texas honky-tonks. Those early days led to a career of country-ballad songs beginning with his first albums releasing in 1957, “Grand Old Opry’s New Star.”

The 81-year-old artist’s baritone added a rich velvet layer to songs like the classic for the brokenhearted “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”  That song, released in April of 1980, crossed over musical genres due to its universal subject  loss and longing. It was Jone’s voice, with its ache and sorrow, however, that spoke to the recently dumped in honkey-tonks and Manhattan bars.

“He Stopped Loving Her Today” is Jone’s first No. 1 single and Jones is quoted as saying that a “a four-decade career had been salvaged by a three-minute song.” 

Jones earned the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1980. The Academy of Country Music awarded the song Single of the Year and Song of the Year in 1980.

It also became the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year in both 1980 and 1981.

Jones is also a Kennedy Center Honoree (2008) and recipient of a 1999 Hall of Fame Grammy Award and 1992 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee.

Over his career Jones earned three Grammy’s, five Country Music Association awards, four Academy of Country Music Awards, and the 1986 American Music Awards honor for Favorite Male Video Artist - Country.

Jone’s music career took off after a tour in the Korea with the US Marine Corp.  Known as much for his wild ways, fueled by alcoholism,   

An oft-repeated and legendary story is, that having had his car keys hid from him, to stop him from being able to drive to the liquor store, Jones instead took a riding mower.  Quotes from the incident are that Jones, looking out the window, saw the mower:

“There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat. A key glistening in the ignition. I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.”

In 1969, Jones married Country iconic singer-songwriter Tammy Wynette (May 5, 1942– April 6, 1998), the First Lady of Country and Jones’ third wife establishing one of the most famous country music marriages ever. Wynette is best known for his song “Stand By Your Man”

Jones began working with Wynette and producer, Billy Sherrill at Epic Records.  It is here that he released his biggest hits  who would be responsible for his biggest hits of the ‘70s, like The Grand Tour” and “Her Name is…” 

In 1977, Jones collaborated with folk singer James Taylor in Bartender’s Blues

Jones rode the charts into the ‘80s, including “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” the story of a man who is only able to stop loving that one woman on the day he dies, and some fifteen other singles that landed on theBillboard Hot Country Singles chart, including person favorites “Tenessee Whiskey” (1983) and “Wine Colored Roses” (1986).

However it is Jones and Wynette’s duet singles “We’re Gonna Hold On “ that continued a relationship that far outlived the couples frequently volatile relationship.

The duets continued for several years after they divorced in 1975 though the continued to combine their voices together in collaborative efforts including “Golden Ring” (1976), at the end of their marriage became

The couple reunited professionally for a final album, One, in 1995.

Jones’ commented, often negatively, on the direction that modern country music has taken, but he was well regarded and he sang with artists Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Vince Gill on the 1992 “I Don’t Need Your Rock’ Chair.” 

An end of career appearance on Aaron Lewis’ Country Boy, a collaborative effort (2010) with Aaron Lewis, rock n’ roll’s Staind front man Aaron Lewis, turned country,  and iconic fiddler Charlie Daniels, shows a white haired Jones, once again, with microphone. 

Just the way he should be.

___________________

George Jones is survived by his wife Nancy Sepulvado (March 4, 1983 - present) and children Susan (Dorothy Bonviollion), sons Jeffrey and Bryan (Shirley Ann Corley) and daughter with Tammy Wynette, Tamala Georgette, who performs as Georgette Jones.

The Communities offers condolences to family, friends and fans. 

The Communities offers condolences to family, friends and fans. 

 

 


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Jacquie Kubin

Jacquie Kubin is an award winning journalist that began writing in 1993 following a successful career in marketing and advertising in Chicago.  She started Communities Digital News in 2009 as a way to adapt to the changing online journalism marketing place.  Jacquie is President and Managing Editor of Communities Digital News, LLC and a frequent contributor to The Washington Times Communities as well as a member of the National Association of Professional Woman, New American Foundation and the Society of Professional Journalist.  Email Jacquie here

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