George Jones died today. His was the voice of heartbreak. Most critics put his voice up there with Frank Sinatra as the greatest singer ever. I know I do. Even when he was singing songs far below his talent —and there were plenty of those—it was a pleasure to listen to him caress the notes.
But oh, when he sang a song whose quality matched the level of his voice, it was exquisite. Whether it was on perhaps the saddest song ever written — “He Stopped Loving Her Today”—or “The Grand Tour” or “A Good Year For The Roses,” there’s a reason people referred to Jones as “The King of Broken Hearts.” You believed every word he ever sang as if he had lived it, probably because the hard-drinking, hard-living Jones had. The pleasure barely outweighed the pain.
There was no song that Jones didn’t make better. He shaped modern country music the most of any artist since Hank Williams Jr. Country singers all wanted to sound like him, and non-country singers wanted to sell a song the way he could. He was one of the most admired singers in history by other singers.
Today, the home page on Jones' website simply has a stunning photo of Jones resting his hands on his guitar. His lined face shows every trial and tribulation that he ever experienced, but it’s also the face of someone who has come to terms with his own past
Until he was recently hospitalized, Jones was on his farewell tour. The Possum may be gone, but his music will still be played 100 years from now.
Tonight’s $10 goes to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, where people will be able to go for decades to come to learn about Jones.
April 26: Country Music Hall of Fame
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