George, his dear wife and band members are special friends of mine, and I am proud to add his name to my personal Hall Of Fame.
The following biographical information is courtesy of GeorgeJones.Com
George Glenn Jones was born in Saratoga, in East Texas. As a kid, he sang for tips on the streets of nearby Beaumont. By age 24, he had been married twice, served in the Marines and was veteran of the Texas honky circuit. On a recording session in 1955 for Starday Records, producer Pappy Dailey suggested he quit singing like his idols, Lefty Frizell, Roy Acuff and Hank Williams, and try singing like George Jones. The result was “Why Baby Why,” his first Top Five hit.
In 1959, Jones had his first #1 record with “White Lightning.” Other Number Ones include “Tender Years” and “She Thinks I Still Care,” which held the #1 spot of six weeks and led to Male Vocalist of the Year awards from the Country Music Association in 1962 and again in 1963. His singles consistently hit the Top 10 and he hit #1 again in 1967 with “Walk Through This World With Me.”
Jones, the top male singer in country music, married country music’s hottest new female artist, Tammy Wynette in 1969. He bought out his contract with Musicor so that he could join Wynette’s label, Epic Records, where he enjoyed a successful 20-year association with producer Billy Sherrill.
He hit #1 in the ‘70s with “The Grand Tour” and ‘The Door.” His marriage to Wynette was stormy but in the recording studio they were the perfect duet partners, hitting #1 with “We’re Gonna Hold On” in 1974 and, coinciding with their 1976 divorce, “Golden Ring” and “Near You.”
Jones kicked off the 1980s with one of the all-time great country records, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” which won him a Grammy and Single of the Year honors from the CMA in 1980 and again in 1981. He won virtually every award available for that Song, which remained #1 for 18 weeks. His hits continued throughout the decade and his video for “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” won the CMA’s Video of the Year award in 1986.
In 1992 the CMA recognized Jones’ monumental career with his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1995, Jones and Tammy Wynette were reunited for a new CD entitled “One” and toured together for the first time in twenty years. Thankfully, George and Tammy had found friendship and peace in their relationship before the First Lady of Country Music passed away in 1998.
In 1996, Jones told his life story in the book I Lived to Tell It All, which was a #6 Best Seller on The New York Times list.
Jones’ 1999 gold-selling “ Cold Hard Truth” earned him the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocalist. When his label, Asylum Records, was consolidated into Warner Bros. Records, Jones opted to leave and join some friends in starting Bandit Records. In 2001 he released “The Rock: Stone Cold Country 2001.” In 2003 Jones reunited with his long time producer Billy Sherrill to release his first Gospel Collection. Previous Gospel releases were isolated tracks that had been recorded over a period of years and eventually compiled into albums.
In 2003, Jones received the 2002 Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony. The Medal “honors individuals for the singular distinction of their artistic careers.” The National Medal of Arts is the nations highest honor for artistic excellence.
This year at the tender age of 73, George continues to headline more that one hundred concerts a year. He is celebrating 50 years in the entertainment industry, and is working on his next studio album, which will be “songs I wished I had recorded.” “The Possum” is at a great place in his life and, for the first time in his adult life, is straight, sober and having the time of his life.