Country Music Hall of Famer George Jones passed away today, April 26th. He had been hospitalized on April 18th at the University Medical Center in Nashville for a fever and an irregular blood pressure. The singer was 81 years old.
Jones was an influential singer in American country music history. Some of his more noteworthy contributions included, “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Grand Tour,” “Walk Through This World With Me,” “Tender Years” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
Jones started off by playing in the streets of Beaumont for tips as his teenager. He later served in the US Marine Corps and then started recording for the Starday Label in Houston. “Why Baby Why” was his first Top 10 country single. Jones ultimately recorded over 160 charting singles – which as his press releases notes, was more than any other artist in any format in the history of popular music.
Jones signed with Epic Records in 1971 recorded several duets with his then wife, Tammy Wynette. The pair had several chart-topping hits such as, “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Golden Ring” and “Near You.”.
By 1976 the pair were divorced and Jones was dealing his some personal demons. His career cooled until 1980 when he recorded, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. The track revived his career and he even ended up winning CMA’s top male vocalist award in 1980 and 1981 and a Grammy.
Jones remarried in 1983 to the former Nancy Ford Sepulvado. He excised his personal demons, went on to record even more successful tracks, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992.
Just last year Jones announced a farewell tour that was to conclude this November in Nashville.
He is survived by his wife Nancy, his sister Helen Scroggins, and his children and grandchildren.