It’s 2019 everyone, and we are greeting you a happy new year. As we head on to a new year, the things we loved and used to know tend to be forgotten and be replaced by something new. There is nothing wrong with embracing change because at least we are moving forward. But, there are certain things worth preserving. One of them is the old country music we know. Without these nostalgic country songs, the birth of new country music wouldn’t be possible. Therefore, in order to embrace the past, let us listen to some classic country songs of George Jones.
Young George Jones
Before we begin listening to the best of George Jones, let us take a look at where this gem in country music all started. Jones was born in Saratoga Texas, on September 12, 1931. He grew up listening to country music on the radio, and at a young age, he was an avid listener of the Grand Ole Opry show. At the age of nine, Jones had his first guitar where he learned to play it. When he was young, he sang in church and when his father asked him.
His First Recording and Many More
Jones didn’t sit around and became one of country music’s greatest singers. He went through tough times before he was able to hit the top of the charts. The first single he recorded was “No Money in This Deal.” He recorded it under his first record label Starday. The first time Jones was able to enter the chart was in 1955 with his song “Why Baby Why.” Since then, Jones’ songs had been securing a spot on the US country chart.
In his career, he had released a total of 134 singles, and among them, he had a total of 69 songs on the top ten of the charts. Furthermore, he scored ten songs at number one as a solo artist.
The Best of the Best
As mentioned above, Jones released a lot of songs but we are going to take a look at ten of his best songs. The list we provided is not arranged in any specific order.
“I Always Get Lucky With You”
In 1983, Jones scored his final number one song on the Billboard chart. At first, he was reluctant to record the song, but he eventually did. “I Always Get Lucky With You” was written by Merle Haggard, Freddy Powers, Gary Church, and Tex Whitson in 1981. The first recording of this song was by Haggard, but he wasn’t able to release it as a single. Therefore, it didn’t enter the country chart.
“I Always Get Lucky With You” was included as one of the songs from his album Shine On. The single’s about a man’s appreciation of his lover. Despite that, he has a bad day or things aren’t working out on his favor. His lover will always be there for him.
There’s been good days and bad days
But when the day is through
I always get lucky with you
“The Grand Tour”
Jones waited six years before he finally scored another number one on the chart as a solo artist. This poignant song is a masterpiece in itself. It shows what’s going on inside a man’s mind when going through a divorce. The narrator of the song gives a grand tour of his once a happy home and gives us a picture of what it was like when he was happily married.
Step right up, come on in
If you’d like to take the grand tour
Of a lonely house that once was home sweet home
The song was released in 1974 as a part of his same-titled album. Jones song was written by Norro Wilson, Carmol Taylor, and George Richey. The latter married Jones ex-wife Tammy Wynette. Aside, from becoming another number one for Jones, the song was dubbed by Rolling Stone as one of the saddest songs in country music.
If George Jones listened to others, he wouldn’t be known as one of the best country singers. It was great that he made all the decisions himself. His song “Choices” is one of the greatest recordings he ever released. It was written by Billy Yates and Mike Curtis in 1997 and was first recorded by Yates. However, it was Jones who made the song enter the Billboard country chart. Furthermore, Jones won the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
What made the song more interesting was when Jones had an accident two months before the song was released. In addition, the music video set for the song shows pictures of George, which gave the song a more heartfelt meaning.
Another interesting story of the song was when George was asked to perform an abridged version during the CMA awards show. However, he refused to do it, and he didn’t attend the show. When Alan Jackson heard what happened to Jones, he interrupted his performance by singing the song “Choices.” This was his act of rebellion against the CMA for what they have done to Jones.
No I wouldn’t be here today
Living and dying
With the choices I made
“She Thinks I Still Care”
In 1962, Jones earned his third number one song on the chart with “She Thinks I Still Care.” There were different stories on how Jones came to record the song. One story says that Jones wasn’t interested in recording the song at first because of the repeated use of the phrase ‘Just Because.’ In another story, when Jones heard the song he was excited to go into the studio and record it. Whatever the story may be, this single has been one of George Jones’ best songs.
Just because I asked a friend about her
Just because I spoke her name somewhere
“I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair”
George Jones proved that no matter what his age was, he can still rock country music. By the time country music turned its back from country legends like Jones and preferred the mainstream country music, Jones proved them they were wrong. His single “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair” is a single he released in 1992 and has entered the country chart. It didn’t reach the top 10 of the Billboard, but Jones still has what it takes to keep real country music alive.
In the recording of “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair” Jones was joined by fellow country singers Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Joe Diffie, T. Graham Brown, Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, Mark Chesnutt, Travis Tritt, and Alan Jackson. His song received a lot of positive critics, and he won the CMA’s Vocal Event of the Year.
The single was written by Billy Yates, Kerry Kurt Phillips, and Frank Dycus. And, it was included in his seventy-first studio album Walls Can Fall.
My body’s old but it ain’t impaired
Well I don’t need your rockin’ chair
“The One I Loved Back Then”
His single “The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song)” reached number three on the country Billboard chart. It was one of the songs in his album Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes. The single is about a man who drives a fine car with his beautiful woman. Then, he stopped in a store to buy something. Suddenly, the man in the store talked to the narrator and told him,
The old man took my money
As he stared at my Corvette
He said, I had one just like her son
At first, you may think he was talking about the car, but it turns out, the man in the store was talking about the narrator’s lady.
George Jones wouldn’t be known without his single “White Lightning.” He recorded the song of his friend J.P. Richardson, who died a week before Jones recorded the song in 1959. Without knowing, this song became a hit. It reached number one on the country chart. Furthermore, it has crossed over to the pop chart at number seventy-three. This song of Jones was not recorded on a single take. It took him eighty takes for the song to be finally done. However, the first take of the song was the one they released as the official record of Jones.
“White Lightning” sounded more of a rock and roll than the songs Jones usually recorded.
Well, the “G” men, “T” men, revenuers, too
Searchin’ for the place where he made his brew
They were looking, tryin to book him, but my pappy kept on cookin’
Phoo, white lightning
“The Race Is On”
The song “The Race Is On” perfectly draws a picture of a man afraid of losing the woman he loves to another man. Until one day it came true, he describes the pain of watching the woman he loved taken away from him.
There’s ache and pain in my heart
For today was the one that I hated to face
Somebody new came up to win her
I came out in second place
This sad song was written by Don Rollins for the singer Jimmie Gray. However, this was made popular by George Jones and Jack Jones. George’s version of the song reached number three on the Billboard country chart in 1965. In addition, his single also crossed over the pop chart at number ninety-six. Nonetheless, it was Jack Jones’ version that performed well on the Hot 100 chart.
George enjoyed the song so much that he performed the song all the time in his live shows and re-recorded it many times.
This is not a solo recording of Jones, but we couldn’t resist including this as one of his best songs. “Golden Ring” is a single by Jones and his ex-wife Tammy Wynette. The song was released in 1976, a year after their divorce. Despite that, the song was not actually about Jones and Wynette’s marriage. However, many agree that the song perfectly fits them.
“Golden Ring” is about the cycle of a wedding ring moving from one couple to another. The first stanza of the song shows a couple looking at the wedding ring. It was followed by the couple getting married in a small church, and they were very happy. However, the story didn’t end happily. Instead, the couple broke up, and the ring was seen in the same pawnshop again.
By itself (by itself) it’s just a cold metallic thing
Only love can make a golden wedding ring
Jones and Wynette scored their second number one on the country chart with “Golden Rings.” In addition, it has crossed over the pop chart at number five. This single has been their signature duet.
“He Stopped Loving Her Today”
We are ending the list of the best songs by George Jones with his signature single, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” This classic song is known to be one of the greatest country music of all time. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is a poignant song that revived the career of Jones in 1980.
He stopped loving her today
They placed a wreath upon his door
And soon they’ll carry him away
Jones, as always, hated the song when he heard it. Every time he recorded the song, he changed the tune to Kris Kristofferson’s single “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” He said that nobody would listen to or buy the song. However, without knowing, this song penned by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam gave Jones his seventh number one song.
“He Stopped Loving Her Today” gave Jones numerous awards. He won the ACM’s Single of the Year and Song of the Year. Furthermore, Jones won the CMA’s Song of the Year for two consecutive years. He also brought home the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
The song was extremely attached to Jones’ name that during his funeral service, fellow country singer, Alan Jackson, performed the song.
There you have it, folks! Ten of the best songs of George Jones.