“He Stopped Loving Her Today” is one of the ballads that could be considered as an ageless wonder. Even years after its first release, George Jones’ song of a man’s undying love for a woman is still one of the most stirring love songs of all time.
The single was released in 1980 after his marriage with his fourth wife. It was Jones’ number 1 single for over six years.
Prior to the release of “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” George Jones was struggling for years with alcohol addiction and had been in trouble with the law. Fortunately, the ageless hit song gave Jones the boost he needed for a comeback.
The song won Single of the Year at the CMA awards and Jones took home a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. This was also acknowledged by CMT as the second Best Country Song of All Time. Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” came first.
George Jones On “He Stopped Loving Her Today”
After spending years of lying low, Jones was in deep need of an ultra-hit song. In came “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Jones was straight forward in telling his producer Billy Sherrill on what he thought of the song. He had misgivings about recording the song because he thought that it’s not catchy enough for Country music fans. Still, Jones went with the flow and started working on the song. Little did he know that it’s the perfect song which caused his career to spring back into life and gave Jones the lift that he needed to be back on top.
Even the Songwriter Didn’t Have Faith on the Song
Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman were the ones who wrote this timeless hit. The same duo also wrote Tammy Wynette’s number 1 hit, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.”
Braddock said that his inspiration for “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was probably the affection that he had with his second wife. He, however, clarified that he did not admire the narrator in the song.
The song depicted the song’s narrator as someone who’s just deeply indulged with love for his woman and that the only way for him to get rid of such affection is death. That kind of struggle over a woman was a terrible characteristic for Braddock. He added that he also never thought that the song would make it big. He perceived it as just a mediocre piece.
Jones’ producer Billy Sheryll shared with Braddock George Jones’ recording of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and it brought in a whole new fill. Impressed, Braddock admitted that it was one of the instances where an artist adds up value to a song. The ageless ballad is now preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Recording Registry as of 2008.
His Last Concert
Unfortunately in 2013, George Jones was in the middle of his farewell tour when he got seriously ill in April. It was his all-time hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today” which Jones sang in his last live performance.
On the way home after his last concert, George Jones reportedly said to his wife Nancy that he just gave his final performance, which was correct. Not long since his recent concert that he did in Knoxville, the country legend entered the hospital. Jones stayed in the hospital for 20 days and unfortunately, was not able to recover from respiratory infections which led to his death.
In retrospect, Jones farewell tour was not just about his singing legacy. His wife, Nancy Jones, said that the tour was his way to prove to his loyal fans that he loved them.
Despite aging, the Possum still shines on stage.