George Jones’ rendition of “I Always Get Lucky with You” became his ninth and final No. 1 on the country chart as a solo artist. Released as the second single from his 1983 album Shine On, the song stayed at No. 1 for one week and remained on the country chart for thirteen weeks.
George Jones Landed His Final No. 1
Written by country icon Merle Haggard with Freddy Powers, Gary Church, and Tex Whitson, “I Always Get Lucky with You” tells the tale of a man with mediocre luck who nevertheless has an ace in his pocket.
“I’ve had good luck and bad luck. And no luck, it’s true. But I always get lucky with you. I’ve been turned on and turned down when the bars close at two. But I always get lucky with you,” the song goes.
Haggard actually first recorded the song himself for his 1981 album Big City but did not release it as a single. A few years later, Whitson suggested to Jones’ producer, Billy Sherrill, that the country legend records the tune. However, Sherrill did not mention who wrote it, as at that point, Jones and Haggard weren’t speaking to each other over some falling-out they had.
“I’d get mad at him over the years because of his self-damage, but everything I said to him was out of love,” Haggard wrote in an article for Rolling Stone after Jones died. Jones hit rock bottom after spending most of the previous decade in booze and drug-crazed wasteland.
He added, “Imagine you’re George Jones, and every night you’re expected to sing as good as you did on a song like ‘She Thinks I Still Care.’ He was a shy country boy from East Texas walking around with that on his shoulders. He knew people expected him to be the greatest country singer that ever lived. He was the Babe Ruth of country music, and people expected a home run every time.”
It was only after Jones recorded “I Always Get Lucky with You” did he learn the truth of the song’s origin. It didn’t matter anyway because, by then, Jones and Haggard had buried the hatchet and were friendly again.
In the 1994 video presentation Golden Hits, Jones recalled how he had sung the song “around Nashville at some of the clubs to try and get used to it before I went into the studio, and it came off great. It’s a great song. Merle Haggard wrote a good one there.” In 2006, Haggard re-recorded the song as part of the second Jones/Haggard release Kickin’ Out the Footlights…Again.
Tune in below to catch George Jones’ incredible performance of “I Always Get Lucky with You.” We’re fortunate to have enjoyed his songs, that’s for sure!