Remembering George Jones: an emotional performance of his masterpiece

Country music legend George Jones passed away in 2013 and within days, a concert had been organized in his honor. This tribute to Jones’ life and career took place at, where else, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. It was a sad occasion — many in the audience had known Jones personally — but everyone realized that an evening of amazing music was exactly what was needed.

George Jones was born and raised in Texas. When he was 7, his parents bought a radio and he quickly became addicted to country music. Two years later, Jones had his first guitar and he was a quick learner. A tumultuous home life sent him packing when he was 16 and he soon landed a job as a singer and guitarist at a local radio station. Jones’ fame grew in the 1950s and his career reached its peak in the early 1960s. The following years were a troubled time for Jones, but he relaunched his career in dramatic fashion in 1980 with the song “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” It’s his masterpiece and a strong candidate for best country song of all time.

At the tribute concert in Nashville, singer and songwriter Alan Jackson departed from his usual honky-tonk style of country music and delivered a subdued but beautiful interpretation of “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” The audience couldn’t restrain its cheers when Jackson arrived at the chorus and this inspired him to really belt out the rest of the chorus. But then he switched to a more contemplative delivery, as though he was fondly remembering his late friend.

As you’ll see in the video posted below, Jackson held his hat to his chest when he sang the final verse. Then, before stepping from the microphone, he said simply, “We love you, George.”

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