George Jones Passes At Age 81
April 26, 2013 at 7:25 AM (PT)
Country music icon GEORGE JONES passed away earlier TODAY (4/26) at age 81.
JONES was recently hospitalized on THURSDAY, APRIL 18th with fever and irregular blood pressure.
Born SEPTEMBER 12th, 1931, JONES was the singer of enduring Country music hits including "She Thinks I Still Care," "White Lightning," "Walk Through This World With Me," "Tender Years" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today," and many more.
“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, TX and served in the U.S. MARINE CORPS before returning to TEXAS and recording for the STARDAY label in HOUSTON. In 1955, his “Why Baby Why” became his first Top 10 Country single, peaking at #4. From that point forward, JONES has gone on to record over 160 charting singles, more than any other artist in any format in the history of popular music.
JONES’ first #1 hit came in 1959 with “White Lightning,” a MERCURY RECORDS single that topped 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.”
He signed with EPIC RECORDS in 1971 and worked with producer BILLY SHERRILL, 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.”
JONES’ solo career cooled until 1980, when he recorded the Country classic, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” with which he 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 he 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 FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd. ALAN JACKSON, GARTH BROOKS, RANDY TRAVIS, CHARLIE DANIELS, KENNY ROGERS, SAM MOORE, THE OAK RIDGE BOYS and many, many others were set to perform (NET NEWS 3/15).
JONES is survived by his wife of 30 years NANCY JONES, his sister HELEN SCROGGINS, and by his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Service details are yet to be announced.