For the past 20 years or so, George Jones has been referred to as “The Greatest Living Country Legend!” With 14 number one records under his belt, starting way back in 1959 with “White Lightening”, and a wild past that at one point earned him the nickname “No Show Jones,” the news that will be saying farewell in one last “Grand Tour” is bittersweet. “The Possum,” his nickname after giving up drinking 20 years ago, says he plans to finally retire from touring in 2013.
George who will turn 81 in September says:
“It is tough to stop doing what I love, but the time has come.”
Although Jones’ farewell tour is expected to visit 60 cities, the specific dates and venues have not been announced. Jones is calling it the Grand Tour, after his enduring No. 1 hit from 1974. Jones also plans to record a new album, and Dolly Parton has been writing songs for him.
I have always been a HUGE fan of George Jones and one of the highlights of my career in radio, was about 10 years ago at our WYCD Downtown Hoedown when I had an opportunity to actually meet him in person! I was so excited as I stood in line, but then his manager came and told those of us who were waiting to meet him, that he was in a super tight schedule, and would not be able to sing any autographs or take any photos. I had a 8×10 photo that I had taken a few years back from a previous Hoedown, and also a limited edition George Jones boxed CD Set that I wanted him to sign in my hand!
So being the resourceful girl that I am, I hid both the photo and CD set under my jacket and when it came my turn to meet him, I whipped them out, flashed him my biggest smile and told him,
“I’m your BIGGEST FAN George …is there any chance you could sign these for me?”
I will NEVER forget that deep voice, with a sweet southern drawl, as he laughed and said,
“Oh darlin’….now you know I am not supposed to do that for you and not anyone else….”
As he grabbed the CD set and my sharpie, he not only autographed it, he smiled and posed for a picture with me too! I will never forget that day or that moment for as long as I live!
I sure hope I can attend one of George’s final shows….and I am keeping my fingers crossed that he plans in stop right here in the Motor City!
While best known for “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” what many call the “Greatest Country Song Of All Time,” here are all 14 number one hits in his career so far!
“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 (song)” (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)