George Jones was in high spirit when he appeared on one of Hee Haw show’s episodes to perform his signature hit “White Lightning.” If you happened to be in that program watching him sing face to face, I bet you’ll consider such experience unforgettable. But, even if you just watched the preserved footage of that episode on Youtube, you can’t help but feel entertained. The jovial vibe that Jones has put into the song was apparently real. That’s despite the plenty of emotions that went into recording the song. Managing to turn a poignant song into a fun-loving tune made Jones a singer, performer, and entertainer all rolled into one.
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Brief Song Background
While many consider “He Stopped Loving Her Today” as George Jones’ most famous hit, “White Lightning” remains his signature song. In fact, the song gave the singer the first big hit of his career. That’s when the record reached the top spot of the country chart on April 13, 1959. It wasn’t Jones though who first recorded the song. Before him, rockabilly artist J.P. Richardson or best-known as “the Big Bopper” released “White Lightning” as a single in February 1959.
Richardson and Jones were known to be good friends. A week before Jones was supposed to record his version of the song, Richardson died. He, alongside singers Buddy Holly and Richie Valens, died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959. The tragic event was later named as “The Day the Music Died.” That made the recording of the song an emotional experience for Jones. But his spirited performance of “White Lightning” on Hee Haw showed no trace of emotion in the singer. It’s purely fun, and that’s utterly amazing. It’s probably his sincerest way of remembering his friend. Delight yourself in Jones’ feisty performance of his signature song below.
George Jones, Hee Haw show, J. P. Richardson, White Lightning