Released in 1980, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” came into existence. Thanks to the creative minds of Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam. It was recorded and made famous by one of the greatest country music artists of all time, George Jones. The song became the lead single from his album I Am What I Am.
Most notably, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” has been named the greatest country song of all time.
The Story Behind the Song
“He Stopped Loving Her Today,” tells the story of a friend who has never given up on his love. That is why he keeps old letters and photos from back in the day and hangs on to hope that she would come back. As it reaches its peak in the chorus, the tune reveals that he finally stopped loving her when he died. Eventually, the woman then returns for his funeral.
In 1978, Billy Sherrill, the producer of the song, introduced it to George Jones. According to Sherrill, Jones hated the song when he first heard it. Later, the singer admitted this in an interview.
On the other hand, in the biography of Jones (as written by Bob Allen), Sherrill states:
“He thought it was too long, too sad, too depressing, and nobody would play it… He hated the melody and wouldn’t learn it.”
In addition, Sherrill says that the singer frustrated him by continually singing the song to the melody of the Kris Kristofferson hit, “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”
In retrospection, the producer shares:
“I said ‘That’s not the melody!’ and he said ‘Yeah, but it’s a better melody.’ I said ‘It might be – Kristofferson would think so too, it’s his melody!’”
The Song’s Success
While George Jones hated the song at first, he eventually performed it from time to time. In fact, the tune received massive success. This led CBS Records to renew Jones’ recording contract and sparked new interest in the singer.
In 1980, Jones won a Grammy award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Also, the Academy of Country Music voted the song Single of the Year and Song of the Year in 1980. Moreover, it also became the Country Music Association’s Song of the year in both 1980 and 1981.
Meanwhile, the song equally registered great on the charts. It clinched the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles while No. 2 on the RPM Country Tracks in Canada.
Let’s go back and watch George Jones sing “He Stopped Loving Her Today” on The Ronnie Prophet Show on July 1, 1980.