Today would have been George Jones’ 87th birthday. But even if the country music legend is no longer around to celebrate with us, we continue to remember and honor him through his musical legacies. Throughout his career, Jones recorded more than 150 hits. For most us, the most prominent aspect of Jones’ life we knew was his musical career. That’s surely given considering the many hits he produced and we come to love even until now. But how many of you, dear readers, are aware of the singer’s childhood life and the rocky road he walked through to become one of the famous names in the music industry? In this article and in commemoration of Jones’ birthday, we bring you back to his early life and how he turned his circumstances into an inspiration to succeed in life.
Jones was born to a poor and large family but his family status didn’t stop him from dreaming. Aware of the musical talents he’s been gifted with, Jones made use of his only possession to help in providing for his family. Accordingly, the young Jones began performing on the streets to earn money. The Texas-born Jones was one of the eight children in his family. Jones noted in his autobiography I Lived to Tell It All that his father was an alcoholic who turned into a monster when drunk. But when he’s sober, he was the best father his children could ever have. In fact, he gave Jones his first guitar which he used to perform on the street.
In the midst of their impoverished condition, Jones and his family were rich with one thing. That is their love of music. Oftentimes, they would sing hymns together and listen to records of great musicians such as The Carter Family. Moreover, the family was a loyal listener of programs from the Grand Ole Opry. Soon after Jones entered teenage years, he began performing in dive bars and by the age of 16, he worked as a singer at a local radio station. During his stint with KTXJ, Jones developed a strong admiration for Hank Williams’ music.
Journey to Musical Stardom
After completing his military service in 1953, Jones decided to seriously pursue his passion for music. Soon enough, he landed his first recording contract with Pappy Daily who co-owns the Starday Records. Daily served as Jones producer and manager for many years. He earned his first Top 10 country hit in 1955 with “Why Baby Why” which peaked at No. 4. Jones scored three more Top 10 singles in the succeeding years. He ended the decade on a high note when he earned his first No. 1 song, “White Lightning.”
The ‘60s saw Jones shone brighter having hits that consistently appear on the music charts including his No. 1 single “Tender Years.” This eventually led the singer to become one of country music’s top artists.
Just like most artists in the music scene, Jones did not limit himself to solo recording. He also worked with other artists. Among his successful collaborations was that with Tammy Wynette who would later become his third wife. Along with their journey as husband and wife, Jones and Wynette began making songs together. Their team-up reached success producing charting records including “The Ceremony” and “Take Me.” Both were Top 10 hits for the couple.
The success of their recording partnership remained unaffected by their separation. In fact, they even scored their No. 1 songs together after their breakup namely “Golden Ring” and “Near You.”
Along the way, Jones worked hard in battling his personal demons. Not allowing them to hinder him from pursuing his passion, Jones went on to amass numerous awards and put up an impressive musical legacy. In 2012, the singer received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award on top of other honors he earned throughout his career. The following year, Jones died from hypoxic respiratory failure.
Below is Jones’ best-known song which earned him international fame in the ‘80s, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
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birthday, George Jones, He Stopped Loving Her Today, Tammy Wynette, Tender Years