Most country music artists and fans will, without a doubt, agree that George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is the greatest country song of all time. Released in 1980 as the first single off his album I Am What I Am, the song held the No. 1 spot on the country chart for an incredible eighteen weeks.
Needless to say, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” went on to become Jones’ signature tunes. And because of its notable status in country music, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” has been covered countless times, mostly by male artists. But in 2011, one of country music’s most successful female artists stepped up to give us a woman’s take on the song.
LeAnn Rimes released a one-of-a-kind album that year, titled Lady & Gentlemen. The album was produced by Rimes, along with Vince Gill and Darrell Brown, containing covers of songs that were originally recorded by male artists like Merle Haggard, John Anderson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and of course, George Jones.
Rimes decided to recreate some of the saddest songs to ever pass through radio speakers by including George Jones’ classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today” on the album.
A No Ordinary Song Was Born
Written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” tells the story of a man who has never given up on his love. He held onto the hope that one day she’d come back again. The song reached its peak in the chorus, revealing that he indeed stopped loving her when he died. The woman finally came back, but it was for his funeral.
“He stopped loving her today. They placed a wreath upon his door. And soon they’ll carry him away. He stopped loving her today. You know, she came to see him one last time. Aww, ‘n’ we all wondered if she would. And it kept runnin’ through my mind “this time he’s over her for good,” the song goes.
George Jones hated the song when he heard it for the first time. “He thought it was too long, too sad, too depressing and that nobody would ever play it,” as revealed in Bob Allen’s biography of the country legend. Still, Jones bit the bullet and eventually ended up recording it. He even credited it for reviving his flagging career.
Indeed, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was no ordinary song. It is about the kind of love we all would like to find, one so powerful that not even separation can diminish it.
Rimes Unforgettable Performance of “He Stopped Loving Her Today”
During one of LeAnn Rimes’s appearances at the Grand Ole Opry, the talented singer belted out “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” and couldn’t help but get emotional. When she introduced the song, she revealed just how much “He Stopped Loving Her Today” means to her.
“This is one of my all-time favorite songs,” Rimes said. “I think it’s the best song that’s ever been written in country music. And God bless George.”
From there, Rimes moved into her breathtaking rendition. Her stunning voice soared through high and low notes alike, leaving the audience in awe. A few stray tears escaped from Rimes’ eyes while she was singing but still managed to power through without breaking down.
The emotion behind LeAnn Rimes’ cover resulted in a performance that is sure to bring tears to your eyes as well. See it for yourself in the video below.
George Jones, LeAnn Rimes