Sex, Drugs, and Country Music?
Jones, 70, analyzed evidence after the assassination attempt on Alabama Gov. George Wallace in Laurel in 1972, and assessed crime scenes of Washington, D.C., and Prince William County’s “Freeway Phantom” in 1971
OOPS! Wrong Jones, This blog is about George, “The Possum” Jones. Let me try this again.
“If we all could sound like we wanted to, we’d all sound like George Jones”. So sang no less an authority on the subject than Waylon Jennings, he of the famous nasal twang and enviable phrasing. Even the greats, it seems, recognize George Jones as greater still.
A romp through the ages found George taking the reins as Country Music’s bad boy and earning him the nickname “No Show Jones“. Although George has over 150 hits extending well beyond a half-century career he is just as famous for his bad boy attitude of drunkenness, drugs, womanizer, and all around “wild man”.
1955 found George breaking onto the music scene with “Why Baby Why” and was immediately signed by United Artists and topped the charts with his follow-up “She Thinks I Still Care”. 1957 found George joining the Grand Ole’ Opry and his quirky songs in this period like “White Lighting” showed his range of vocals but it wasn’t until 1969 that George came into the limelight thanks in a big part to Tammy Wynette. Their six-year marriage was turbulent to say the least but with Tammy having a major impact on his solo career and the duets they put out on the Epic label into the 80′s, it was a commercial gold time. Hits like “A Good Year for the Roses”, “Golden Ring”, and “The Grand Tour” sealed the pair as the King & Queen of country music.
A chronic alcohol and cocaine problem became the “monkey” on George’s back and this battle would nearly destroy not only his career but also his life. Losing weight was but a start of the troubling 1970′s for Jones as he became increasingly unreliable and would disappear regularly and without notice blow off recording sessions and concerts. In these dark times of a fabulous career he still managed to continue putting out hits such as “Bartender Blues” in 1978 with James Taylor. 1980 found George once again in the limelight with “He Stopped Loving Her Today” a tear jerking ballad that found every jukebox in america getting fat from the coins dropped in them to hear this great song. 1985 brought us the great album and single “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes”, another great listen is “high-tech redneck”.
The 1990′s tried to push George in the background with the new genre of musicians such as Shania Twain, Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks changing the sound and direction of country music into what I think of as the replacement of southern rock n’ roll as we knew it then. It didn’t work as he continue’s to put music out now more than 6 decades from first starting. His book “I Lived To Tell It All“ came out in 1996 and 1999 brought Jones more trouble as in March he lost control over his Lexus and hit a concrete bridge just miles from his Franklin Tennessee home. After being trapped inside the wreck for more than two hours, rescuer’s finally were able to free him and get him to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition with a collapsed lung, bleeding in his chest area and most concerning, a ruptured lung. A cell phone is blamed for this accident.
Sober since this time, George has solidified himself as a legend in country music and will perform his last tour starting in April @ the Fox Theater, Atlanta GA on the 19th and ending in Tulsa OK @ the River Spirit Casino December 7th. This is reportedly the last tour of a fantastic line of tours and achievements. Many greats have come down the tracks following this artist and all want to have a part in this last celebration of live concerts. But the question still remains “Who’s Gonna Fill His Shoes?” until next time, peace
ref/ www.georgejones.com, CMT, bio.true story, pop matters photos/bing