When Josh Turner sang the iconic ballad, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” he captivated his audience and took them on a journey of unbearable heartbreak and endless love.

The country music singer has been blessed with a deeply sensational voice and striking ability to convey even the deepest emotions musically. Since growing to considerable fame in the early 2000s, Turner has persevered onto a path of greatness with his incredible vocal abilities.

Even though Turner is a modern country singer, he frequently pays homage to the legendary singers that came before him. For this instance, he chose to take on one of the most emotional and beautiful crippling country songs ever recorded. It’s his way of paying his respects to country music legend George Jones.

Fans remained quiet as Turner’s voice boomed all over the venue with deep emotion and pain for the beloved man who held his lifelong wish to love his woman until the day he died. As the song neared its devastating end, the singer’s voice belted the final chorus as the audience met him with an uproar of applause.

A Song’ Too Sad, Too Depressing’

Written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” tells a poignant story about a man who never stops loving his former flame until he dies. 

He has never given up on his love, even keeping old letters and photos from back in the day and hanging on to hope that she would “come back again.” The woman did return, but it was for his funeral.

“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.’ He stopped loving her today. They placed a wreath upon his door, and soon they’ll carry him away,” the song goes.

“I had the concept of a love so strong that only death could terminate it,” Braddock said about “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” But George Jones found the song “too long, too sad, too depressing” that he thought “nobody would ever play it.” Jones even “hated the melody and wouldn’t learn it.”

To make things worse, it was the period of Jones’ life when all he had, both in his personal and professional life, was destroyed with substance abuse. At that point, his singles were dull in comparison to his previous hits. Perhaps he didn’t need to record another sad country song as he was already living one. 

Luckily, he still did it, though producer Billy Sherrill claimed that Jones was in such bad physical shape during this period. According to Sherill, “the recitation was recorded eighteen months after the first verse was,” and the last words Jones said about “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was “nobody’ll buy that morbid son of a bitch.”

Although he hated “He Stopped Loving Her Today” when it was first offered to him, Jones eventually gave the song credit for reviving his flagging career as it earned him a Grammy Award in 1980 for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. It even became the CMA Song of the Year twice: in 1980 and in 1981.

As George Jones put it in his autobiography, “a four-decade career had been salvaged by a three-minute song.” Indeed, Josh Turner has chosen a great classic song. You can listen to his heartbreaking cover in the video below.