George Jones Country Music legend Dead at 81


George Jones Country Music Superstar Dead at 81

George Jones was a country music legend who wrote songs about his lifestyle, both good and bad, died today at the age of 81.  He died at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.  He was in the hospital with a fever, and for blood pressure problems.

Jones had No. 1 songs in five separate decades, 1950s to 1990s. He was idolized not just by fellow country artists, but by Frank Sinatra, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello, James Taylor and countless others. “If we all could sound like we wanted to, we’d all sound like George Jones,” Waylon Jennings once sang.  His career span 50 years.

He recorded several duets with  Tammy Wynette, his wife for six years, including “Golden Ring,” “Near You,” “Southern California” and “We’re Gonna Hold On.”  His most famous song, an considered by many as the greatest country song of all time, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” was believed to have been about Ms. Wynette.

Jones continued to make appearances and put out records, though his hit records declined.

“I don’t want to completely quit because I don’t know what to do with myself,” he said in 2005. “I’ll be out there as long as the people want me to be out there.”

Jones was married to Wynette, his third wife, from 1969 to 1975. (Wynette died in 1998.) Their relationship played out in Nashville like a country song, with hard drinking, fights and reconciliations. Jones’ weary knowledge of domestic warfare was immortalized in such classics as “The Battle,” set to the martial beat of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

After one argument, Jones drove off on a riding mower in search of a drink because Wynette had taken his car keys to keep him from carousing. Years earlier, married to his second wife, he had also sped off in a mower in search of a drink. Jones referred to his mowing days in the 1996 release, “Honky Tonk Song.”

His drug and alcohol abuse grew worse in the late ’70s, and Jones had to file for bankruptcy in 1978. A manager had started him on cocaine, hoping to counteract his boozy, lethargic performances, and Jones was eventually arrested in Jackson, Miss., in 1983 on cocaine possession charges. He agreed to perform a benefit concert and was sentenced to six month’s probation.

“In the 1970s, I was drunk the majority of the time,” Jones wrote in his memoir. “If you saw me sober, chances are you saw me asleep.”

James Turnage

Columnist-The Guardian Express

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.