On December 20, 1968, the song “Near You” was the last song that George Jones and Tammy Wynette recorded as husband and wife. One of the songwriters behind the song was Francis Craig who in 1947 had the record of most weeks in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Pop Chart. The other songwriter behind the song was Kermit Goell.
The Uncomfortable Recording and Their Separation
George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s tumultuous six-year marriage had reached an all-time low during the recording of “Near You.” The studio where they were recording the song got extremely intense. George and Tammy weren’t speaking to each other at that point and they were barely making it through the songs. Intentionally, Jones would try to throw Tammy off by not singing anything the same way twice. He made the recording nearly impossible for her to phrase with him. His little stunts like that made recording work very difficult for everybody that was involved with the recording. Their recording session with “Near You” was a miserable experience for everyone. Producer Billy Sherrill said to himself during that time, “God, this has got to stop.”
Unfortunately, what was happening didn’t stop. After the recording session was done, George Jones and Tammy Wynette returned to their home around midnight. As they went to bed, George promised that everything would work out all right. However, the following morning, when Tammy went out for a dental appointment, Jones moved out for good. That day was December 13, 1974.
Three months after, their divorce was final and Tammy Wynette didn’t see George Jones again. The next time Tammy saw George was in October 1975.
George and Tammy’s recording of “Near You” was actually stashed for a couple of years. However, six months after their duet “Golden Ring” reached the summit of Billboard’s Country Singles chart, “Near You” was released. Despite having a bad recording session, “Near You” still landed at the top spot on the same chart. There it stayed for two weeks. Thereafter, it was followed with “Southern California” which landed on No. 5.
Few years after the divorce and having cooled heads, George Jones and Tammy Wynette again teamed up for a reunion album. The album gave the duo their one last hit, “Two Story House.” Their final team-up appeared in spring of 1995, three years before the death of Tammy Wynette. She died at the age of 55.
Billy Sherrill, George Jones, Near You, Tammy Wynette