George Jones (1931-2013)

George Jones (1931-2013)

Heralded by many as the greatest Country singer of all time, George Jones passed away on Friday morning, April 26, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. He had been hospitalized on April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure.

1986_George_Jones_Winner - lo res

George Jones wins the 1986 CMA Award for Music Video of the Year for “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes.”

Jones was in the midst of “The Grand Tour,” billed as his farewell to the concert stage and a final triumph in his unparalleled career. Born in a log cabin in Saratoga, Texas, he began performing as a teenager on the streets of Beaumont. His recording career began in January 1954, when he cut “No Money in This Deal” for the regional label Starday. His first Top 5 hit, “Why, Baby, Why,” followed in 1955, prompting Jones to move to Nashville and sign with Mercury Records.

“Country Music would not be what it is without the immeasurable contributions made by George Jones,” said Steve Moore, CMA CEO. “I fondly remember promoting shows with George over the years and what a pleasure he was to work with!

“His fans and his peers will never forget his many classic performances, both as a solo artist and with his former spouse and musical partner, Tammy Wynette. His induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992 was richly deserved, and he will remain there forever as a symbol of what true greatness means in our genre. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Nancy, George’s family, and the countless fans he touched through the power of his voice and the generosity of his heart.”

Throughout the 1960s, Jones transitioned from his early honky-tonk sound to a deeper, more probing approach. Following his first No. 1 hit in 1959, “White Lightning,” he recorded hundreds of songs, many of them remembered today as classics of the genre, including “She Thinks I Still Care,” “Tender Years,” “The Race Is On,” “A Good Year for the Roses” and “Walk through This World with Me.”

In 1969, his third marriage, to singer Tammy Wynette, opened another chapter in Jones’ life and Country Music history. Together they redefined the art of Country duets with “The Ceremony,” “Golden Ring,” “Near You” and other unforgettable performances, many of them recorded after they had separated in 1974.

More milestones followed in decades to come, including “The Grand Tour” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Jones continued to record duets as well, with partners as varied as Merle Haggard, Brenda Lee and James Taylor. Even as his commercial successes waned going into the 1990s, he toured frequently – and just as frequently cancelled engagements, earning the nickname “No-Show Jones” – and recorded prolifically.

By that time, Jones had achieved iconic status within and beyond Country Music. His name turned up in countless Country songs as a synonym for excellence, from Alan Jackson’s “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” to Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem.”  A seven-time CMA Award winner, Jones was honored by a long list of artists; even Frank Sinatra referred to him, tongue in cheek, as “the second greatest singer in America.” Garth Brooks took it further than that, hailing Jones as “the greatest voice ever to sing Country Music.”

That voice lives on and will remain vital to Country Music for generations to come.

Below, see photos of Jones and Twitter reactions from Country stars. Also below, George Strait sat down with Country Aircheck‘s Lon Helton to discuss the passing of George Jones. You can hear their conversation below. “It’s a sad day for us in Country music and the music business in general. We lost one of the greatest singers to ever live and we’re gonna miss him,” said George Strait. “He was a huge influence on me and my career.”

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/90197190" params="" width=" 50%" height="166" iframe="true" /]
George Jones at the opening of Jones Country in 1983.

George Jones at the opening of Jones Country in 1983.

George Jones at his 1992 induction into CMA's Country Music Hall of Fame.

George Jones at his 1992 induction into CMA’s Country Music Hall of Fame.

Jones Country

Jones Country

Johnny Cash and George Jones

George Jones and Tammy Wynette in 1995 at CMA's Fan Fair.

George Jones and Tammy Wynette in 1995 at CMA’s Fan Fair.

George Jones

George Jones, center, at a concert taping at the Palmer Auditorium in Austin, Texas, on February 19, 1993 at the taping of "George Jones & Friends Hall of Fame Salue," a one-hour special on TNN: The Nashville Network. The photo was taken days after Austin mayor Bruce Todd, not pictured, declared Feb. 11 George Jones Day in honor of the event supporting public television in Central Texas. Pictured, from left, Paul Corbin, Director of Programming, TNN; Country star Tracy Lawrence; Jones; Terry Lickona, producer; "Austin City Limits" and the George Jones special; Bill Arhos, President/General Manager, KLRU-TV.

George Jones, center, at a concert taping at the Palmer Auditorium in Austin, Texas, on February 19, 1993 at the taping of “George Jones & Friends Hall of Fame Salue,” a one-hour special on TNN: The Nashville Network. The photo was taken days after Austin mayor Bruce Todd, not pictured, declared Feb. 11 George Jones Day in honor of the event supporting public television in Central Texas. Pictured, from left, Paul Corbin, Director of Programming, TNN; Country star Tracy Lawrence; Jones; Terry Lickona, producer; “Austin City Limits” and the George Jones special; Bill Arhos, President/General Manager, KLRU-TV.

Tammy Wynette and George Jones

Tammy Wynette and George Jones

(left to right) George Jones, wife Nancy Jones, and Lorianne Crook on the set of the Crook-hosted"Celebrities Offstage" television special in 1990.

(left to right) George Jones, wife Nancy Jones, and Lorianne Crook on the set of the Crook-hosted”Celebrities Offstage” television special in 1990.

George Jones and Ralph Emery share a laugh on "Nashville Now" in January 1993.

George Jones and Ralph Emery share a laugh on “Nashville Now” in January 1993.

Andy Warhol and George Jones

Andy Warhol and George Jones

Johnny Cash and George Jones share a laugh on Dec. 14, 1982 at a performance at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center to benefit local police and fireman's families who lost loved ones in the line of duty.

Johnny Cash and George Jones share a laugh on Dec. 14, 1982 at a performance at Nashville’s Tennessee Performing Arts Center to benefit local police and fireman’s families who lost loved ones in the line of duty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • richard a. michaels

    rip possum will be missed by one and all.u can sing for god now love u

  • http://jkmbowler34/facebook Julie Mills

    I am George’s fan. I love his music and he will always be in my heart. My prayers are with his family and his wife. He has been a greatest Man to the country music legendry and I will always think of him when i listen to his songs. May god be with him. RIP George Jones may god rest in peace.

  • linda banaszewski

    gearge jones you will be missed i grew up listing to your music. an have quite a few of your cd’s tapes and records

  • Tina Gostling

    Today, I truly have a broken heart. I am so thankful to be a fan of George and I will be one of millions playing his tunes for years to come. To George’s family, there are no words to express how sorry I am for your pain and loss. Just know that you all will be in my thoughts and prayers through this difficult time.

  • Barbara A

    RIP George Jones and prayers for his loved ones!!!

  • http://CMACLOSEUP Mable Strickland

    George Jones was a Great singer. No will ever replace him. To me
    he was Pure Country Music.

  • http://Facebook Rhonda Hitt

    My smympathy to George Jones’ wife, Nancy, and their family. George and his music will be missed. His sad love songs are really hitting me hard right now cause I’m going thru a break-up with my boyfriend and it hurts so bad. R.I.P. George. You were loved by so many people.

  • Naomi Laskowski

    He was a real country music legend and will be greatly missed R.I.P. George and prayers for his wife and children

  • Caroline Hooper

    Rest in peace George,your music and memory will live on for ever.Prayers and thoughts are with your family.xx

  • http://facebook June Bloss

    He was one of the gate singers that I love to hear when I need hear the good times . From my family want to say we will be missing him
    now he is going with all the stars and singing with the Angels

  • Danny Mackey

    I have loved George Jones and his soulful music for more than 50 years. I met him backstage in Greenwood, SC, and told him of my collection of his albums & songs, got a handshake and a hug which I will always treasure. In the spirit of his song…”who’s gonna fill his shoes….RIP George, no one can tear our hearts out,
    Like YOU xoxo, Danny

  • Janet M. Meekins

    I have loved George Jones music since the first time I heard it. I saw him once in concert. I have great admiration for him. Country music has suffered a great loss. R.I.P. Gerorge. You will never be forgotten.

  • Jason Starling Texarkana Tx.

    All of my life I grew up listening to George on the radio. I love that man. I always will. With all of my country heart and soul, I extend my condolenses to the family. Like George sang it best. Who’s gonna fill their shoes. I will never forget him. He will forever live in me as a part of my life. He is what I’ve always considered to be “TRUE COUNTRY” Love you always George Jones!

  • http://facebook donna taylor

    he was the greatest of all time

  • http://Facebook April Shephard

    We use to all get drunk on Friday night and argue who was the best Country Singer !! It always came down to George Jones and Conway Twitty ! No one will ever replace either one of them !!!

  • Keith Scott

    Only knew him through his music like millions of other fans. A great loss but his music is eternal.

  • Christine Collier

    I grew up listening to George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and so many other country music greats. Country music is my heart forever. George will be deeply missed and my prayers go out to George’s wife, family & friends. George you will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Possum.