In this blog post, we are diving deep into the legendary career of George Jones, exploring his most remarkable songs, collaborations, and impact on country music. We will take a closer look at how the man known as “The Possum” became one of the most influential and beloved artists of all time, and why his music continues to captivate audiences across generations.
George Jones is one of the most beloved and influential figures in country music history. He was born on September 12, 1931 in Saratoga, Texas, and started singing professionally at an early age.
In his nearly seven-decade long career he released over 150 albums, charted more than 80 singles, and collaborated with some of the biggest names in country music.
His unique blend of traditional and modern styles, his powerful voice, and his heartfelt songwriting have earned him the nickname “The Possum” and made him one of the most famous singers of all time.
He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992 and received numerous awards throughout his career, including twelve Academy of Country Music and five Grammy Awards. George Jones’s music has left an indelible mark on the landscape of country music, inspiring generations of artists in its wake.
George Jones’s Top Hits
1. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980)
George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is a beloved country ballad that was released in 1980 and quickly became one of the genre’s most popular songs. The song tells the story of a man who never stopped loving his former lover, even after her death.
It speaks to themes of heartache, resilience, and ultimately acceptance, and its poignancy resonated with fans across the world.
The song was a major hit for Jones, earning him his first Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
Over time it has become one of the most iconic country songs of all time and has been covered by dozens of artists over the years. It is a reminder of George Jones’ ability to craft timeless melodies and lyrics that speak to the human experience.
2. “She Thinks I Still Care” (1962)
“She Thinks I Still Care” is one of George Jones’s most beloved songs. The song was released in 1962 and quickly became a hit, reaching number 1 on the US Country charts.
It tells the story of a man who has moved on from his former lover but is still haunted by memories of their time together.
The lyrics are heartbreaking, but there is also a sense of hope and resilience in the narrator’s words. The song has come to be regarded as one of Jones’ signature songs, and it continues to resonate with fans across generations.
It was included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and has been covered by numerous artists over the years.
3. “The Grand Tour” (1974)
George Jones’ “The Grand Tour” was one of his most commercially successful singles, reaching number 1 on the US Country charts in 1974.
The song tells the story of a man who visits all the places he used to go with his former lover, only to find them all empty and lonely without her.
The song is a heartbreaking account of heartbreak and longing, with Jones’ powerful vocals conveying the emotions of the narrator.
It is one of George Jones’ most beloved songs, and it remains a staple on country music radio stations around the world.
George Jones will forever remain an icon in the world of country music, and his influence continues to be felt today.
His legacy is one of timeless songs that speak to the human experience, and he will always be remembered as a master storyteller and musician whose talent transcended genres.
George Jones’ music has been an inspiration for generations of musicians, and his influence will continue to live on through his beloved songs.
4. “White Lightning” (1959)
“White Lightning” is a classic by George Jones that was released in 1959. The song tells the story of a man who has just tasted his first sip of moonshine whiskey and loves it so much he decides to make it his own drink of choice.
The song is lighthearted and fun, with an intoxicating singalong chorus that has become one of Jones’ most enduring hits. The song was a key single in Jones’ early career, helping to kick-start his rise to fame and ushering in a new era of success for the country music star.
It remains beloved by fans today, with its lively energy and unique sound sets it apart from other George Jones songs.
5. A Girl I Used To Know
“A Girl I Used To Know” is a classic George Jones song that was released in 1962. The song tells the story of a man who has been separated from his former lover and is left to grapple with the pain and loneliness of their parting.
Jones channels this sentiment through powerful lyrics, painting an image of heartache and regret as he reflects on their time together.
The song was a commercial and critical success, reaching number 1 on the US Country charts and becoming one of Jones’ signature songs.
It has since been covered by numerous artists over the years, further cementing its place as one of George Jones’s most beloved hits.
6. A Good Year For The Roses
George Jones’ 1971 single “A Good Year for the Roses” is a classic country song that captures the emotional complexity of a romantic breakup.
Written by Jerry Chesnut, the song was released from Jones’ album “My Very Special Guests.”
The lyrics tell the story of a man who looks back on his relationship including its tumultuous moments and finds solace in the fact that, despite all of its struggles, it was still a good year for the roses.
7. A Picture Of Me Without You
“A Picture of Me Without You” is a classic country-pop ballad that first appeared on his 1972 album, A Picture of Me (Without You).
The song was co-written by Norro Wilson and George Richey, who also produced the track. The single reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1972, becoming Jones’s tenth number one hit.
The lyrics of the song are about a man who is musing about his life without his beloved. He reflects on how he has changed since their break up and how he will never be able to go back to being the same person that he was before.
He also talks about how he can still feel her presence even though she is no longer with him. The song’s melancholic tone and heartfelt lyrics struck a chord in listeners and it has since become one of Jones’s most beloved songs.
8. Bartender’s Blues
“Bartender’s Blues” is a classic country song that was released as the lead single from George Jones’ 1978 album My Very Special Guests. The song was written by James Taylor, who had been inspired to write it after hearing Jones perform at a live show.
It became one of the biggest hits of Jones’s career, reaching number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
The lyrics of the song are about a man who is pouring his heart out to a bartender at a local bar. He talks about how he has been struggling with his depression since he and his wife split up, and how it doesn’t seem to matter what he does to himself to feel better.
He is trying to understand why things turned out the way they did, and how he can move on from his heartache. The song’s emotional lyrics and vulnerability struck a chord with listeners and it became one of Jones’ biggest hits.
One of those iconic tunes is “Choices,” which stands as a reminder to us all how our past choices shape our present lives.
The lyrics tell the story of someone whose bad decisions have cost them everything – their livelihood, their family and friends, and even their sanity. The narrator in the song reflects on how his life has been destroyed by these bad choices, but he also takes responsibility for them.
The song is a powerful reminder that our decisions have consequences, both positive and negative. We can’t always control what happens to us in life, but we can decide how to respond to it.
“Choices” was released in 1999 and quickly became a favorite of fans and critics alike. It peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, won the Academy of Country Music Award for Song of the Year in 2000, and earned Jones a Grammy nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
The success of “Choices” proved to be a highlight in George Jones’s career, and the song serves as an important reminder that our decisions matter. Its heartfelt lyrics have resonated with multiple generations of listeners, making it one of his most iconic songs.
10. Don’t Stop The Music
Don’t Stop The Music by George Jones is a classic country song, released in 1981. Written by Don Cook and Dave Kirby, the song tells a story of heartbreak and loss.
It follows the narrator as they reminisce on their past relationship, feeling powerless to move on despite knowing it’s over. With its melancholic melody and Jones’s signature vocals, the song has become an iconic part of his catalog.
The lyrics of Don’t Stop The Music touch on a universal feeling of mourning that can be difficult to articulate – especially in the old-school country genre.
11. Golden Ring
Golden Ring is one of the most popular and well-known songs by George Jones. The song was written by country music singer Eddie Kilgallon and released in 1976 as the first single from his album Still the Same Ole Me.
It quickly became a major hit for Jones, reaching number 1 on both the Billboard Country Singles chart and Cash Box Country Singles chart.
The song is an upbeat, lighthearted duet between Jones and Tammy Wynette about a couple who make plans to get married but later break off the engagement.
The lyrics tell a story of two lovers who got engaged after meeting in church on Sunday but eventually had their wedding plans derailed when the groom-to-be gets cold feet and refuses to go through with the wedding.
The emotional impact of Golden Ring is in its bittersweet take on love, loss, and disappointment. The song speaks to anyone who has ever had a broken romance that ended before it even began.
Despite the sadness of the topic, Jones and Wynette’s duet gives the song a sense of optimism and hope that things may work out for the couple in the end.
12. I Always Get Lucky With You
I Always Get Lucky With You is one of the most beloved George Jones songs. The song was written by Merle Haggard and Red Lane, and it first appeared on the 1982 album Shine On.
The lyrical content speaks of a man who is lucky to have a partner with whom he can place his trust and faith. He sings about how the love they share gives him strength and courage to face life’s many challenges, while also providing solace during turbulent times.
In addition, the song highlights Jones’ appreciation for the constant support that his significant other provides.
13. I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair
I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair is a song by George Jones, released in 1992. It was written by Paul Overstreet and Bobby Braddock and released as the lead single from his album The Bradley Barn Sessions.
The song became one of the most widely known songs of Jones’ career and has since become an anthem for traditional country fans.
The song is a tribute to Jones’ career and his place in the country music industry. The lyrics take a wistful look at the past, as Jones reflects on how he has seen generations of musicians come and go, yet he still remains standing.
He proclaims that he doesn’t need their “rocking chair”, or the approval of others, because he has been doing what he does for his entire career and is satisfied with the results. The song has a powerful emotional impact that resonates with many fans who relate to Jones’ hard-earned success.
14. If Drinking Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)
George Jones’s classic song “If Drinking Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)” is one of the most beloved tracks in his impressive repertoire. The song was released in 1985 and written by Hank Cochran and Dean Dillon. It is a soulful, country ballad that speaks to the heartache of loss and regret.
The lyrics depict a man struggling to cope with the memory of his lost love. He is aware that drinking won’t solve his pain, but he desperately turns to it anyways in an attempt to escape the hurt. The narrator eventually comes to terms with reality and recognizes that even if alcohol doesn’t kill him, “her memory will”.
15. Someday My Day Will Come
Someday My Day Will Come is a classic country song written and performed by George Jones. It was released in 1971 as the third single from his album, I Am What I Am.
The heartfelt ballad speaks of life’s unpredictability, with Jones expressing his determination to overcome all odds and make something great out of himself.
16. Tender Years
Tender Years is a classic George Jones song that was released in 1957. Written by Eddie Miller and W.S. Stevenson, the song tells the story of an aging man reflecting on his childhood days and the innocence that comes with it.
With its heartfelt lyrics, Tender Years quickly became a fan favorite and has remained one of George Jones’s most beloved songs to this day.
The lyrics of Tender Years evoke strong emotions in the listener, as George Jones sings about the joys and hardships of growing up.
He fondly remembers “the innocence that came with tender years”, and how he was taught patience and kindness from his parents. The nostalgia in the song is palpable, as the narrator looks back on his childhood and wishes he could return to those simpler days.
17. The Door
The Door is a song by American country music legend George Jones. The song, written by Eddie Miller and W.S. Stevenson, was released in 1959 as part of Jones’ album Sings Country and Western Hits. It was one of the most successful songs of his career, topping the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for two weeks in 1959.
The Door is an emotionally powerful song about a man who tries to visit his lover, only to find the door locked against him. The lyrics tell of how he pleads with her to open the door so that they can talk and reconcile their differences, but she refuses. In the end, he gives up in despair and goes away, never knowing if his lover had ever heard him.
The Door is widely considered to be one of the highlights of Jones’ career, and its emotional impact has been praised by both critics and fans alike. The song’s popularity also helped to establish Jones as one of the leading figures in country music.
18. The One I Loved Back Then
The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song) is one of the most iconic and emotionally charged songs from country music legend George Jones.
Written and released in 1985, the song chronicled a man’s recollection of his past relationship with a now-forgotten lover and how material possessions often take precedence over true love.
The lyrics are deeply personal and give insight into a time in Jones’ life when he was heavily influenced by the trappings of fame.
The One I Loved Back Then is particularly notable for its musical arrangement, which manages to perfectly capture the sadness of the song’s subject matter.
The melancholy guitar strums, paired with George Jones’ heart-wrenching vocal performance, create an atmosphere of longing and regret that few other songs can match.
The song was a huge success for George Jones, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
It went on to be certified Gold by the RIAA for selling over 500,000 copies in the United States. The song was nominated for both a CMA and ACM Song of the Year award in 1985, cementing its place as one of George Jones’ greatest musical achievements.
19. The Race is On
The Race is On is another of George Jones’ iconic songs, and was written by Don Rollins in 1964. The song offers a tongue-in-cheek take on the idea of a race between two lovers, with one partner trying to hold onto their relationship while the other partner tries to move on.
Much like many of Jones’ other songs, The Race is On focuses on the universal themes of heartbreak and regret.
The lyrics tell the story of two former lovers in a race to move on with their lives, each hoping that they can forget about the other sooner than the other person.
Jones’ powerful vocal performance reinforces these emotions by delivering lines such as “the longer you wait, the more I’m gone” with a sense of desperation and finality.
20. The Right Left Hand
The Right Left Hand is a song by country music artist George Jones, released in 1983 as the opening track of his album Shine On.
Written by Don Schlitz and Jonathan Singleton, the song tells the story of an estranged couple struggling to come to terms with their broken relationship.
The song is notable for its lyrical imagery and metaphor, which uses a right left-hand motif to express the idea of two people trying to come back together but being unable to do so.
21. The Window Up Above
The Window Up Above is a song by American country singer-songwriter George Jones, released in 1960 as the lead single from his album I’m A People.
Written by Mickey Newbury, the song tells the story of a man who continues to visit his former lover’s home even after she has left him. The lyrics are deeply moving and touch on universal themes of heartache and regret.
The song deals with the pain of a broken relationship and how it can haunt someone long after they’ve been left.
22. These Days (I Barely Get By)
These Days (I Barely Get By) is a song written and recorded by George Jones. It was released as the lead single from his 1975 album Memories of Us. The song became one of Jones’ signature hits and is considered to be among the best in his catalog.
The lyrics of These Days (I Barely Get By) tell the story of a man who is struggling to make ends meet and trying to support his family. He finds himself working hard, but with no reward or appreciation for it. The lyrics are filled with sadness and desperation, highlighting Jones’ vocal talent.
These Days (I Barely Get By) was an instant success for Jones, reaching the No. 1 spot on the US Country chart and becoming his third song to do so in a row. It was also well received in other countries, reaching the top 10 of the Canadian RPM Country Singles Chart and achieving gold status in both Canada and Australia.
23. When The Grass Grows Over Me
When The Grass Grows Over Me is a classic Country song by George Jones, released in 1972. It reached number 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart shortly after its release and was later inducted into the prestigious Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fame.
The song tells the story of a man who is facing his own mortality and thinking about the legacy he will leave behind.
24. Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes
Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes is a song recorded by George Jones, released in 1985 as the lead single from his album of the same name. The song was written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman and produced by Billy Sherill.
It became one of Jones’s most successful singles, reaching number-one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and becoming Jones’s biggest hit since “He Stopped Loving Her Today” in 1980.
The song is a tribute to past popular country singers, such as Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Jim Reeves, Bob Wills and Lefty Frizzell.
The lyrics of the chorus express the sadness of these singers’ death and worry about who will replace them in their absence: “Who’s gonna fill their shoes/Nobody but nobody can fill those shoes”. Jones conveys a sense of grief and admiration for these influential country musicians with his powerful vocals.
25. Wine Colored Roses
“Wine Colored Roses” is a classic country song written by Jim McBride and made popular by the iconic George Jones. The song was released in 1986 as part of his album “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes.”
It tells the story of two people who are struggling to keep their relationship alive, despite all the heartache they have experienced. The narrator reflects on the beauty and fragility of life, hoping that he and his loved one can find a way to get through their troubles together.
The song’s lyrics are full of emotion and yearning for a better future. They express the deep sadness of regretting lost moments and wishing for something more in life. With lines like “There’s nothing now but wine colored roses,” the song paints a vivid picture of longing and despair while still maintaining its hopeful message.
26. Wrong’s What I Do Best
Wrong’s What I Do Best is a classic country song written by Kent Robbins and recorded by George Jones, released in 1988. The song has become one of Jones’ most successful singles, peaking at the No. 7 spot on the Country charts and becoming his 33rd top 10 hit single.
The lyrics describe a man who repeatedly makes mistakes in life, leading to a sorrowful and regretful state. He acknowledges that making wrong decisions has been something he has done his whole life, as it’s “what I do best.”
This is juxtaposed with the chorus, which states that even though he can’t seem to get anything right, there is one thing he excels at loving the woman he is singing to.
1. Tammy Wynette
Tammy Wynette and George Jones had a tumultuous relationship, both professionally and personally. They first began collaborating in 1965 when Jones recorded Wynette’s song “Take Me” for his album My Favorites of Country Music.
The two musicians eventually fell in love and married in 1969, which led to them producing some of the most successful duets in country music history. Their biggest hits together include “Golden Ring,” “We’re Gonna Hold On,” and “The Ceremony.”
Throughout their partnership, the couple experienced a lot of highs and lows due to their marriage, which often influenced the content of their songs. Their music often dealt with themes of love, despair, heartache, and resilience. Wynette and Jones were both incredibly talented vocalists whose work together helped shape the modern sound of country music as we know it today.
2. Melba Montgomery
Melba Montgomery is another important collaborator in George Jones’s career. The duo first met in 1965 when Montgomery wrote Jones’s hit single “White Lightning” which rose to number one on the charts.
The two continued to collaborate throughout their careers and produced several other successful records together, including “We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds,” “You Comb Her Hair Every Morning,” and “Two Story House.”
Montgomery and Jones were never married, but their partnership was just as influential as Wynette’s in shaping the sound of country music. They both had a knack for writing songs that reflected feelings of heartache and regret, which resonated with listeners.
Their work together helped to establish Jones as one of the most successful country artists of all time. Together, Montgomery and Jones had a lasting impact on the genre’s landscape, paving the way for future generations of country musicians.
Influence on Other Artists
George Jones has had an enormous influence on many of the biggest stars in country music today, from Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks to George Strait and even modern superstars like Luke Bryan.
These artists have cited him as a huge influence on their own musical style, citing his ability to tell powerful stories with emotion and passion as an inspiration for their own work.
Many contemporary artists have also made cover versions of George Jones’s songs, and some have even written tribute songs in his honor.
Perhaps the most famous of these is Alan Jackson’s “George Jones and Jesus” which was released in 2002. This song pays homage to Jones, expressing the singer’s admiration for the way in which he was able to connect with his listeners by combining traditional country sounds and heartfelt lyrics.
Finally, George Jones’s signature vocal style and emotive storytelling have had a lasting impact on modern country music. His songs often tackle difficult topics such as heartache, regret, and perseverance, making them relatable to many of today’s country fans.
This approach has been adopted by numerous contemporary artists, helping to make them successful in their own right. Jones’s influence is timeless, and he will continue to be an inspiration for generations of singers for years to come.
Emotions and Everyday Realness in George Jones’s Music
George Jones’s music was known for its ability to capture the everyday realness of life and express it in an emotive, powerful way. His songs often dealt with themes of heartache, loss, regret, and resilience – emotions that many people can relate to on a personal level.
The raw emotion in his voice was one of his most recognizable qualities, and it enabled him to deliver powerful performances that resonated with listeners. His lyrics often expressed the pain of life’s hardships in a way that was both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time, making them particularly relatable to people who were struggling with their own personal struggles.
In addition to conveying emotion in his songs, Jones was also able to capture the everyday reality of people’s lives. His songs often dealt with topics such as love, heartbreak, and financial struggles that many people faced in their day-to-day lives.
This ability to draw on commonplace experiences made George’s music particularly special to fans who felt that he was singing about their own lives.
George Jones was a master at expressing the rawest of emotions in his music, and conveying relatable everyday experiences to his listeners. His ability to tell powerful stories that resonated with people is still admired by many today, and he will continue to be an inspiration for generations of country musicians to come.
Enduring Relevance and Legacy
George Jones’ music continues to be incredibly popular among modern audiences, showing that his influence on country music is still alive and well. His deeply personal lyrics have resonated with fans around the world for decades, allowing them to connect with his emotions and experiences in an intimate way.
These qualities are just some of the reasons why George Jones is still so highly revered in the world of country music today. His influence can be seen in many contemporary artists, who often cite his ability to tell powerful stories with emotion and passion as an inspiration for their own work. Many have also made cover versions of George Jones’s songs, and some have even written tribute songs in his honor.
What was George Jones biggest hit?
George Jones’s biggest hit was the 1981 song “He Stopped Loving Her Today”.
What was George Jones last big hit?
His last big hit was the 1993 single “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair”, which peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
Did George Jones write any songs?
George Jones wrote numerous songs throughout his career, including such classics as “The Grand Tour” and “The Race Is On”. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1977.