Country music legend George Jones, the Possum, has died
Born and raised in Texas, Jones was one of the finest singers to ever touch a country song. A definitive force as to what a Texas country singer should sound like, he started playing guitar when he was just a boy, but didn’t release his first album until he was in his mid-20s. By then, Jones had darn near perfected his craft. It wasn’t long before he nailed a number-one hit with “White Lightning” – the first of more than a dozen chart-toppers throughout his career.
Jones released so many albums in his career, and charted so many singles, it’s hard to imagine any up-and-coming artist ever coming close to his command of the craft.
He struggled with various vices and addictions, famously driving his tractor to the nearest bar when wife had hid the keys to all the cars, in an effort to keep him off the sauce. But, even those incidents found their way – perhaps awkwardly, humorously, but always honestly – into his songs. Other country singers picked up on it and used images of old country greats riding away on tractors in their music videos.
But, for all his wild antics and personal trials, Jones remained one of country music’s strongest figures. He inspired and influenced generations of artists, who grew up listening to his albums and discovering real country music through his inimitable twang. He was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1956 and and a true old-school country legend.
After performing his final concert in November 2012 in Nashville, Jones’ health quickly diminished. He checked into a hospital on April 18 for fever and irregular blood pressure, and passed away this morning, April 26, 2013.
It seems the best way to remember a great legend is just to crank up their music, so I’ll get things started with these two classics.