“We’re Gonna Hold On” was Tammy Wynette’s first No. 1 hit along with her then-husband, George Jones. Country music has indeed given birth to some of the most iconic couples. And undoubtedly one of the biggest and most explosive couples to ever come about was that of Wynette and Jones.
The couple released the song not long after they reconciled following Wynette’s filing for divorce in 1973 due to Jones’ increasing bouts of drunkenness. Just like most of their songs, “We’re Gonna Hold On” seemed to mirror their turbulent marriage.
“I was tired of waking up sick and having people talk about me – having my wife and children mad at me…I just looked at the situation and realized all the pain I was causing, and all the pain I was suffering wasn’t worth it. We love each other very much,” Jones told Music City News.
But did you know the song originated from a much more unlikely place?
The Story Behind the Controversial Couple’s Hit Song
Written by George Jones and songwriter Earl Montgomery, “We’re Gonna Hold On” was actually inspired by Montgomery’s embarrassing experience at a Holiday Inn hotel. According to Jones’ biographer Bob Allen, Montgomery was on tour with Jones and Wynette when he got drunk enough in the hotel lounge that he ended up charging all the drinks to Wynette’s room.
“Some love lives, and some love don’t. We’ve got the kind of love we want. It brings us happiness all through the day. Nothing can ever make it go away. We’re gonna hold on. We’re gonna hold on. We’re gonna hold on to each other,” the song goes.
Isn’t it amazing how Montgomery managed to turn his mistake into a No. 1 hit song that is now considered a country classic?
Sadly, the country music power couple’s reconciliation did not last long. At one point, Wynette and Jones were married for more than six years. Most of their marriage was during some of the biggest times of their careers.
Jones and Wynette started touring together in a bus that asserted they were “Mr. and Mrs. Country Music.” Their focus was on performing. “When we were on stage,” Jones shared, “we were in our own little heaven.”
Yet Jones’ battle with drinking ultimately became a large contributor to their divorce. Wynette once explained that the divorce filing had been an attempt to curb Jones’ drinking. However, Jones and Wynette’s relationship problems went on. When they were arguing after Jones missed a recording session, his response was to buy a Cadillac and head to Florida.
Wynette filed for divorce the second time. “George is one of those people who can’t tolerate happiness,” she revealed. “If everything is right, there is something in him that makes him destroy it and destroy me with it.” Their divorce was granted in 1975. Jones later said, “I let Tammy have everything — didn’t fight it.” Wynette ended up with their band, their tour bus, their house in Nashville, and their daughter’s custody.
Tune in below and watch George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s performance of “We’re Gonna Hold On” even though they each went on to find love with someone else.
George Jones, Tammy Wynette