George Jones was a country musician, singer, and composer from the United States. His large collection of hit recordings, including “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” as well as his unusual voice and phrasing brought him international prominence.
Throughout the final two decades of his life, Jones was regularly considered to as the greatest country singer alive. Bill Malone, a country music researcher, writes, “For the two or three minutes a song lasts, Jones is so immersed in its lyrics and the mood it creates that it is nearly impossible for the listener not to get similarly absorbed.”
Due to the form of his nose and facial characteristics, Jones got the moniker “The Possum.” Jones was dubbed “The Rolls Royce of Country Music” and had more than 160 chart songs between 1955 and 2013 before his death.
Early Years and Education
George Glenn Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas, on September 12, 1931. He grew up with his brother and five sisters in Colmesneil, Texas, in the Big Thicket area of southeast Texas. His father, George Washington Jones, worked in a shipyard and played the harmonica and guitar, while his mother, Clara (née Patterson), performed the piano on Sundays at the Pentecostal Church.
During Jones’s delivery, a physician dropped him and broke his arm. When he was seven, his parents purchased a radio, and he first heard country music. Jones remembered to Billboard in 2006 that on Saturday nights he would lie in bed with his parents and insist that his mother wake him if he fell asleep so he could hear Roy Acuff or Bill Monroe perform on the Grand Ole Opry.
Jones says in his memoirs I Lived To Tell It All that the loss of his sister Ethel at a young age prompted his father’s drinking problem, and by all accounts, George Washington Jones was physically and emotionally abusive to his wife and children while he was drunk.
Bob Allen describes in his book George Jones: The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend how George Washington Jones would return home in the middle of the night with his drunken friends, wake up a scared George Glenn Jones, and demand that he sing for them or be beaten.
Robert K. Oermann, a country music scholar, commented in a CMT episode of Inside Fame devoted to Jones’s biography “Because he was so coercively compelled to sing, one may assume that he is no longer a vocalist.
However, the contrary occurred; he turned into a chronic singer. He became an individual who had to sing.” In the same show, Jones admitted that he remained ambivalent and angry towards his father until the day he died, and in his book, he remarked that his father’s death was a turning point for him “The Jones family composition does not mix well with alcohol… Daddy was an uncommon drinker.
He drank excessively, but never while working, and he was the hardest worker I’ve ever encountered.” His father purchased him his first guitar when he was nine years old, and he learned his first chords and melodies at church. Several images depict a young George busking in Beaumont.
At age 16, he moved to Jasper, Texas, where he performed on the KTXJ radio station alongside fellow musician Dalton Henderson. He then worked at the radio station KRIC. During one of these midday performances, Jones met his idol Hank Williams (“I just stared,” he later wrote).
Jones revealed in the 1989 video documentary Same Ole Me “I couldn’t think or eat anything unless Hank Williams was playing, and I couldn’t wait for his next album to be released. He must have been the finest.” In 1950, he married Dorothy Bonvillion, but the couple separated in 1951. He served in the United States Marine Corps until 1953 when he was discharged. His entire service was spent at a base in San Jose, California.
What Was George Jones’s Net Worth?
At the time of his death in 2013, George Jones Had an Estimated Net Worth of $35 Million (Source: Celebrity Net Worth), which he earned as a musician, singer, and songwriter between 1954 and 2013.
Throughout his extensive career, country singer and composer George Jones have created several successful singles and albums. The majority of his income came from album sales and live performances.
George Jones’s Musical Journey
Jones had established himself as one of country music’s finest vocalists by the early 1960s, thanks to his songs about heartbreak.
Even more chart success followed with singles such as “Window Up Above” and “Tender Years”. In 1962, the balladeer returned to the top of the charts with one of his signature songs, “She Thinks I Still Care.”
The next year, he joined Melba Montgomery on their most popular album, What’s in Our Heart, which peaked at No. 3 on the charts.
Jones also charted on her own, with “The Race Is On” at No. 3 in 1964 and “Love Bug” at No. 10 in 1965.
Jones’s solo work and collaborations were favorably regarded in the second half of the 1960s, and this trend continued.
The songs “I Am a People” (1966) and “As Long as I Live” (1968) as well as the 1969 duet album I’ll Share My World with You, whose title track hit No. 2 on the charts, are among his most significant recordings from this time period.
You Ought to Be Here With Me, Jones’s final proper studio album for Epic, was released in 1990. Although the album contained numerous rousing performances, including the lead single “Hell Stays Open All Night Long” and the Roger Miller-penned title track, the single performed badly, and Jones switched to MCA, severing his 19-year partnership with Sherrill and what was then Sony Music.
On November 22, 2013, Jones was slated to deliver his final show at the Bridgestone Arena. Jones was transported to VUMC on April 18, 2013, for a minor temperature and abnormal blood pressure. As a result, his performances in Alabama and Salem were postponed.
Let’s Take a Closer Look into George Jones’s Personal Life!
In 1950, he wed Dorothy Bonvillion, from whom he was divorced in 1951. He was discharged from the United States Marine Corps in 1953. In 1954, he married Shirley Ann Corley. The Big Bopper’s “White Lightning,” which Jones recorded in 1959, established his career as a singer.
His second marriage ended in divorce in 1968, and he wed country music artist Tammy Wynette the following year. Years of drunkenness weakened his health and caused him to miss numerous shows, which earned him the moniker “No Show Jones.”
Jones married his fourth wife, Nancy Sepulvado, in 1983, following his divorce from Wynette in 1975, and remained sober for good in 1999. Jones died in 2013 of hypoxic respiratory failure at the age of 81. He has four offspring from his four marriages.