August 1

“Yesterday’s Wine:” From Willie Nelson to George Jones’ Version


merle haggard and george jones yesterdays wine

“Yesterday’s Wine” was a song made famous by George Jones and Merle Haggard in 1982 for their album A Taste of Yesterday’s Wine. Their version of this song peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. However, this song wasn’t originally by George Jones and Merle Haggard.

The Story Behind “Yesterday’s Wine”

willie nelson yesterday's wine

In 1971 Willie Nelson released the song for his album Yesterday’s Wine. The song didn’t perform well on the chart, and it landed at No. 72 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Nelson released the whole album, and it was not able to enter the chart as well. Nelson left RCA because of his disappointment from the album’s outcome. Before releasing the song and his album, his ranch in Nashville burned down. It was a tragic time for Nelson. His album Yesterday’s Wine was supposed to be a story of a man from his birth to the time of his death.

After his disappointment from his album, he still continued to record songs, but it did not top the chart. Until in 1975, his song “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart. After his first No. 1 song, he continuously released songs that topped the Billboard chart.

George Jones and Merle Haggard’s Version

“Yesterday’s Wine” is the lead single in George Jones and Merle Haggard’s studio album A Taste of Yesterday’s Wine. Their first album together peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. Only two of their songs in this album entered the Billboard chart, “Yesterday’s Wine” and “C.C. Waterback.” 

The Song

The song was written by Willie Nelson and made popular by country singers George Jones and Merle Haggard. The song is about a man who is in a bar and talking about his life when he was young. He reflects on his past self and he described himself as a wine that gets better as it ages.

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George Jones, merle haggard, Willie Nelson, yesterday's wine

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