Friday, April 26, 2013

RIP, George Jones

Posted By on Fri, Apr 26, 2013 at 9:35 AM

George Jones, one of the greatest singers in contemporary music history, the man Frank Sinatra referred to as "the second best singer in America," about whom Waylon Jennings sang "If we all could sound like we wanted to, we’d all sound like George Jones," has passed away.

When musicians die, it seems like there's an obligation to over-hype their accomplishments, to pretend that they moved artistic mountains. Sometimes, that can be an inflation of their cultural relevance, but then there are people like George Jones. He had number one songs in five decades, recorded 150 albums, and continued a line of country music troubadours who could create beauty from amazing sadness, succeeding Hank Williams. His duets with Tammy Wynette were magical, and 1980's "He Stopped Loving Her Today," a song that Jones was convinced couldn't be a hit, is generally considered (and rightfully so) one of the greatest country tracks of all time.

Beyond even all that, his personal life was often a disaster (it took him a year to record "He Stopped Loving Her...", partially because he couldn't deliver the spoken word section without slurring his words) and a constant source of material for new songs. Legendarily, when his then-wife Wynette hid the keys to every car they owned, he drove a riding lawnmower seven miles into town to get a drink.

He was a purist, who essentially only listened to the type of music he made, who believed that modern country artists should come up with a new name for their genre, who refused to duet with people like James Taylor because he had never heard of them.

For me, this was the music I heard as a kid. "White Lightning" (above) is one of the first songs I remember hearing, far before I had any idea what the characters were making way back in the hills. I read his heart-wrenching honest memoir "I Lived to Tell It All' in basically one sitting. I was trying to think of a way to swindle my way into his star-filled tribute/farewell concert, which was scheduled for this November in Nashville. I never had the opportunity to interview him, but I have no idea what I would have said if I had. He was one of those people for me that barely seemed real, even though he shared so much of his humanity with the world.

George Jones was 81.

Tags: , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Previously in the Range

More by Dan Gibson

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Saturday Tour & Tasting

Saturday Tour & Tasting @ Hamilton Distillery

Saturdays, 3-5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

This top-rated illusion show is "Revitalizing Magic" by blending an international travel theme with all the charms… More

@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays. Continues through April 14 160 South Scott Ave

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. The Weekly List: 25 Things To Do In Tucson This Week (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Laughing Stock: The People's Pervert Does Christmas (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. Steve Bannon Beats the Drum Against Undocumented Immigrants in Tucson Appearance (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Cutting Teacher Compensation and School Funding in Wisconsin (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. National Stars Shine on Tucson’s Comedy Fest (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation