- George Jones
Jones performing at Harrah's Metropolis in Metropolis, Illinois in June 2002
Background information Birth name George Glenn Jones Also known as No Show Jones
Born September 12, 1931
Saratoga, Texas, USA
Origin Vidor, Texas, USA Genres Country Occupations singer-songwriter Instruments acoustic guitar
Years active 1954– Labels Starday
Associated acts Tammy Wynette Website www.GeorgeJones.com
Over the past 20 years, Jones has frequently been referred to as "the greatest living country singer." Country music scholar Bill C. Malone writes, "For the two or three minutes consumed by a song, Jones immerses himself so completely in its lyrics, and in the mood it conveys, that the listener can scarcely avoid becoming similarly involved."
Throughout his long career, Jones made headlines often as much for tales of his drinking, stormy relationships with women, and violent rages as for his prolific career of making records and touring. His wild lifestyle led to Jones missing many performances, earning him the nickname "No Show Jones." With the help of his fourth wife, Nancy, he has been sober for many years. Jones has had more than 150 hits during his career, both as a solo artist and in duets with other artists. The shape of his nose and facial features have given Jones the nickname "The Possum." Jones said in an interview that he has chosen to tour only about 60 dates a year.
George Glenn Jones was born on September 12, 1931 in Saratoga, Texas, and was raised in Vidor, Texas, with his brother and five sisters. When he was seven, his parents bought a radio and he heard country music for the first time. Given a guitar when he was nine, Jones was soon busking for money on the streets of Beaumont.
He left home at 16 and went to Jasper, Texas, where he sang and played on the radio station. He married his wife Dorothy when he was 19, but they divorced within a year. The Korean War was underway, and he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He was stationed in California for his entire service. Not long after his discharge, his music career took off.
The wild years
Jones's alcoholism was legendary. One of the best known stories of Jones' drinking days happened when he was married to his second wife, Shirley Corley:
“ Once, when I had been drunk for several days, Shirley decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about eight miles from Beaumont and the nearest liquor store. She knew I wouldn't walk that far to get booze, so she hid the keys to every car we owned and left. But she forgot about the lawn mower. I can vaguely remember my anger at not being able to find keys to anything that moved and looking longingly out a window at a light that shone over our property. There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat. A key glistening in the ignition.
I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.
In her 1979 autobiography, former wife Tammy Wynette recalled waking at 1 AM to find her husband gone:
“ I got into the car and drove to the nearest bar 10 miles away.
When I pulled into the parking lot there sat our rider-mower right by the entrance. He'd driven that mower right down a main highway. He looked up and saw me and said, `Well, fellas, here she is now. My little wife, I told you she'd come after me.'
Jones later jokingly sang of the lawn mower incident in his 1996 single "Honky Tonk Song", and parodied his arrest in the music video.
In the 1970s, a manager introduced Jones to cocaine before a show, because he was too tired to perform. His self-destructive behavior brought him close to death and he was in an Alabama psychiatric hospital by the end of the decade. Celebrated by some of his fans as the hard-drinkin', fast-livin' spiritual-son of his idol, Hank Williams, Jones missed so many engagements that he gained the nickname of "No-Show Jones." (The song "No-Show Jones" makes fun of Jones and other country singers.) He was often penniless and admits that Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash came to his financial aid during this time.
Poking fun at his past, three country music videos would feature Jones arriving on a riding lawn mower. The first was Hank Williams, Jr's "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight" in 1984 while the second was Vince Gill's "One More Last Chance" in 1993. Gill's song mentioned the mower with the lines "She might have took my car keys, but she forgot about my old John Deere." At the end of Gill's video, he is leaving the golf course on a John Deere tractor and greets Jones with "Hey, possum." Jones, arriving at the golf course driving a John Deere riding lawn mower with a set of golf clubs mounted behind him, replies to Gill "Hey, sweet pea." The third is John Rich's "Country Done Come to Town" and shows George mowing grass on the rooftop on a zero turn mower.
Jones was married twice before he was 24. His 1950 marriage to Dorothy Bonvillion lasted a year, but they had a daughter, Susan. In 1954, Jones married Shirley Ann Corley. This marriage lasted until 1968 and produced two sons, Jeffrey and Bryan. He married Tammy Wynette in 1969. They stayed married for six years and had a daughter, Tamala Georgette. As Georgette Jones, she is a country singer and has performed on stage with her father. Jones married his current wife, Nancy Sepulvado, on March 4, 1983 in Woodville, Texas. Nancy became his manager. Jones credits his wife Nancy for rescuing him from drinking and cocaine. They now live in Franklin, Tennessee.
- Dorothy Bonvillion (1950 – 1951) (divorced) 1 daughter
- Shirley Ann Corley (September 14, 1954 – June 11, 1968) (divorced) 2 sons
- Tammy Wynette (February 16, 1969 – March 13, 1975) (divorced) 1 daughter
- Nancy Sepulvado (March 4, 1983 – present)
Awards and honors
Jones has received many awards during his long career, from Most Promising New Country Vocalist in 1956, being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, and being named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008.
He served as judge in 2008 for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
Number one country hits
- "White Lightning" (1959)
- "Tender Years" (1961)
- "She Thinks I Still Care" (1962)
- "Walk Through This World With Me" (1967)
- "We're Gonna Hold On" (with Tammy Wynette) (1973)
- "The Grand Tour" (1974)
- "The Door" (1975)
- "Golden Ring" (with Tammy Wynette) (1976)
- "Near You" (with Tammy Wynette) (1977)
- "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (1980)
- "(I Was Country) When Country Wasn't Cool" (with Barbara Mandrell) (1981)
- "Still Doin' Time" (1981)
- "Yesterday's Wine" (with Merle Haggard) (1982)
- "I Always Get Lucky With You" (1983)
- Academy of Country Music
- List of country musicians
- Country Music Association
- List of best-selling music artists
- Inductees of the Country Music Hall of Fame (1992 inductee)
- ^ CMT.com : George Jones : Biography
- ^ Jones, George with Tom Carter (1997). I Lived To Tell It All. Dell Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 0-440-22373-3.
- ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2003). All Music Guide to Country (2nd edition ed.). San Francisco, CA: Backbeat. p. 387. ISBN 0-87930-760-9.
- ^ Jones, George. (1996). I Lived to Tell It All. New York: Dell Publishing Company
- ^ Wynette, Tammy; Wynette, Dew and Wynette, Joan, "Stand By Your Man", 1979, New York: Simon and Schuster
- ^ Independent Music Awards - Past Judges
- I Lived to Tell it All, George Jones with Tom Carter, Dell Publishing, 1997, ISBN 0-440-22373-3
- In The Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music, Nicholas Dawidoff, Vintage Books, 1998, ISBN 0-375-70082-X
- Country Music U.S.A., Bill C. Malone, University of Texas Press, 1985, ISBN 0-292-71096-8
- Joel Whitburn's Top Country Songs, 1944 to 2005, Record Research, Inc., Menomonee Falls, WS, 2005, ISBN 0-89820-165-9
- Official Website
- A Tribute to the Greatest Country Song of All Time
- Official MySpace
- George Jones Country Sausage
- Record Label
- at the Country Music Hall of Fame
Kennedy Center Honorees 1970s19781979 1980s1980198119821983198419851986198719881989 1990s1990199119921993199419951996199719981999 2000s2000200120022003200420052006200720082009 2010s20102011
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