News item: George Jones has died at 81.
I love this man’s work. George Jones is one of those singers who is the epitome of a genre. The kind of sound and delivery that, while you’re listening, you shake your head and say, “my God, this is perfection.”
An FB friend commented that “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is the greatest country song of all time. I know a lot of people feel that way. It’s hard for me to pick the greatest country song ever but also hard to argue against that one. I never get tired of hearing it. It is a perfect country song. That recording was enough all by itself to make George Jones one of the greatest country singers ever, even if he’d never recorded anything else.
But he did record others. He had a whole career before that song came out in 1980 and won numerous awards and put him back at the top. I love sooo many of his recordings.
George could take plain and simple phrases and bring such presence to them… “I’m still the Same Ole Me, lovin’ the same sweet you…”
He could do songs with titles that would make non-country fans laugh. But he would nail those songs and turn them into classics. I’m thinking of songs like “If Drinking Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will).”
He could take a song that would never have amounted to anything if someone else had recorded it and turn it into a hit. As with “Her Name Is…” – the only song that has ever made me laugh and cry at the same time. Only George could pull that song off.
He did classic duets with Tammy Wynette of course and also with Ray Charles, Barbara Mandrel and Merle Haggard. Bartender’s Blues with James Taylor singing harmony is one of the greatest records I’ve ever heard – any genre.
There are so many other great, great recordings that I could mention here. There is nowhere to start or finish when you’re talking about his best material, there is so much.
Over the last few decades, the highest compliment I could pay a country song was to say, “George Jones should sing that.”
Related article from Billboard magazine…
James Taylor Remembers George Jones and “Bartender’s Blues”