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GEORGE JONES DEAD AT 81

GEORGE JONES DEAD AT 81
 
Nashville, Tenn. (April 26, 2013) – Country Music Hall of Famer, Grand Ole Opry member, and Kennedy Center Honoree George Glenn Jones
died Friday, April 26, 2013 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in
Nashville, Tennessee. He was hospitalized April 18 with fever and
irregular blood pressure.


Born September 12, 1931, Jones is regarded among the most important
and influential singers in American popular music history. He was the
singer of enduring country music hits including “She Thinks I Still
Care,” “The Grand Tour,” “Walk Through This World With Me,” “Tender
Years” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” the latter of which is often
at the top of industry lists of the greatest country music singles of
all time.

“A singer who can soar from a deep growl to dizzying heights, he is
the undisputed successor of earlier natural geniuses such as Hank
Williams and Lefty Frizzell,” wrote Bob Allen in the Country Music Hall
of Fame and Museum’s “Encyclopedia of Country Music.”

Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas, and he played on the streets of
Beaumont for tips as a teenager. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps
before returning to Texas and recording for the Starday label in
Houston, Texas. In 1955, his “Why Baby Why” became his first Top 10
country single, peaking at number four and beginning a remarkable
commercial string: Jones would ultimately record more than 160 charting
singles, more than any other artist in any format in the history of
popular music.

Jones’ first number one hit came in 1959 with “White Lightning,” a
Mercury Records single that topped Billboard country charts for five
weeks. He moved on to United Artists and then to Musicor, notching hits
including “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Race Is On,” “A Good Year for
the Roses” and “Walk Through This World With Me.”

Jones signed with Epic Records in 1971 and worked with producer
Billy Sherrill to craft a sound at once elegant and rooted, scoring with
“The Grand Tour,” “Bartenders Blues” and many more. Sherrill also
produced duets between Jones and his then-wife Tammy Wynette, and in the
1970s they scored top-charting hits including “We’re Gonna Hold On,”
“Golden Ring” and “Near You.”

By the time “Golden Ring” and “Near You” hit in 1976, Jones and
Wynette were divorced, and Jones was battling personal demons. His solo
career cooled until 1980, when he recorded “He Stopped Loving Her
Today,” a ballad penned by Curly Putman and Bobby Braddock that helped
Jones win Country Music Association prizes for best male vocal and top
single. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” revived a flagging career, and
Jones won the CMA’s top male vocalist award in 1980 and 1981. He also
earned a Grammy for best male country vocal performance.

In 1983, Jones married the former Nancy Ford Sepulvado. The union,
he repeatedly said, began his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol and
prolonged his life. He signed with MCA Records in 1990 and began a
successful run, and he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
in 1992. His guest vocal on Patty Loveless’ “You Don’t Seem To Miss Me”
won a CMA award for top vocal event in 1998, and it became his final Top
20 country hit.

In 1999, Jones nearly died in a car wreck, but he recovered and
resumed touring and recording. He remained a force in music until his
death, playing hundreds of shows in the new century and collecting the
nation’s highest arts award, the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime
achievement, in 2008. In late 2012, Jones announced his farewell tour,
which was to conclude with a sold-out, star-packed show at Nashville’s
Bridgestone Arena on November 22, 2013. Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks,
Randy Travis, Charlie Daniels, Kenny Rogers, Sam Moore, The Oak Ridge
Boys and many others were set to perform at Jones’ Bridgestone show.

Jones is survived by his loving wife of 30 years Nancy Jones, his
sister Helen Scroggins, and by his children, grandchildren, nieces and
nephews.
 

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