First Time I'd Seen Him Smile In Years
George Jones speaks.
AP: "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is considered one of the greatest country songs of all time. Why do you think that song was so special?
Jones: It may sound corny, but all my life I've wanted to write exactly that song, or I've hunted for it. I wanted to hear a song or write a song about how you could express your greatest love for someone. Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam brought it over that day and that was the first thing I thought of-—"That's the song I've been looking for."
AP: What do you think about the state of country music today?
Jones: They say they're upgrading country music. I tell them they need to find a new title and let us have back our traditional country music. They've stolen our identity. I don't feel like the real thing will be back for quite a while. I'd like to see new artists recording traditional country music. Not for me. I just hate to see it not heard. I hate to see the new country artists not doing their thing because they're told what to do nowadays.
If you've never heard George, you're missing out on one of the greatest voices in all of music. The song referenced above, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," is gorgeously sad and heartfelt. You ought to give it a listen. And, of course, he's also a famous drunk, once widely known as "No-Show Jones" for his propensity for missing tour dates while on a binge:
AP: Is it true that you once took off on a riding mower to get a drink?
Jones: It happened in east Texas when I was married to my boy's mother, Shirley (his second of four wives, the former Shirley Ann Corlea). I had been on about a two-week binge. I came home and naturally nobody was there. All my vehicles were gone and the big tractor was gone. I couldn't find a thing that looked like wheels. It was a Sunday morning and I'm dying, you know. I am hurtin' and I need a drink bad. Finally, after I half-a-day suffered, I finally looked out my bedroom window and I saw this little Cub Cadet sitting there, a little 10 horsepower. I said, "There ain't no key in there. Surely they took that out." I went out there and sure enough the key was in it and it kicked right on. I headed to town as far as I could go on it.