One of the greatest comeback stories of all time
One of the reasons I started this blog over five years ago was to share my love for one of the greatest genres in music country. And more specifically to share my love for the greatest country singer that ever graced the Opry stage George Jones. Of course, I am biased as shared on previous blog posts. The Possum was already in his golden years when I saw him as a child at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Fl. My papaw, and my dad were big fans. When we lost them, we started this blog as a way of keeping their memory alive.
George was not only the greatest country singer of all-time as acknowledged by The Chairman himself Frank Sinatra, Waylon Jennings and The Man In Black Johnny Cash, he was also the most persevering, and weathered insurmountable obstacles to remain one of the best there has ever been. First some background information on the greatest country singer of all time George Jones.
George came from an area in Texas nicknamed The Big Thicket. It was an economically depressed region in Texas that struggled due to its biodiversity and the failure of oil wells, and tourism to the springs to properly take off. Jones' momma played piano in the local pentecostal church. His dad played harmonica and worked at a shipyard. The Jones family lived in government subsidized housing. By the time he was in grade school, George was playing guitar and helping to support the family by busking.
His teen years were spent playing in Beaumont dive bars, and singing at a radio station. His breakthrough came as a songwriter when Faron Young and Red Foley recorded Why Baby Why. He moved to Nashville and by 1969, George had charted 42 solo hits, and several chart toppers. His hit streak continued when he married Tammy Wynette charting eleven hits, and three more chart toppers.
After their divorce, George had not topped the charts since 1975. He was addicted to whiskey, amphetamines and cocaine, and living in his car. Willie Nelson, bless his heart and friends pulled together a tribute album to help George Get back on his feet. He eventually had to file bankruptcy.
George was also arrested for beating his then girlfriend, and shot at one of his best friends and writing buddy Peanut Montgomery. There was also a story that George had shot his second ex-wife’s lover in the posterior maximus in Beaumont, but I don’t know if that is one hundred percent true.
In 1980, after a stint in a psychiatric hospital in Alabama, George continued to abuse alcohol, and cocaine. In the 60’s George’s dad died in a state asylum in Texas due to a crippling alcohol addiction. A couple of days after George’s release, he started recording the most successful album of his then 20+ year career!
He Stopped Loving Her Today, the lead single on George's comeback album, I Am What I Am revived his career to unprecedented stratospheric levels. Interestingly enough, it was a song George said no one would like because of how depressing it was that would be remembered in the annals of country music history as one of the greatest country songs of all time. George eventually listened to Billy Sherrill, his producer, was right, and George was so very wrong about the song.
The album became George’s first platinum record, and the song earned a Grammy, ACM, and CMA awards. George would struggle on, and off with alcohol, and have a couple of more skirmishes with the law, but his comeback from homelessness to Grammy winning success is the greatest seen in country music history.
George went on to earn the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, The National Medal of Arts and is in the Grammy, and Country Music Hall of Fame.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the Comeback Series. You can check out the previous seven installments here. These real life stories are proof that at your lowest you can still rise up from the ashes and take the bull by its horns. While there is life there is hope. It’s never too late for a comeback.
If you are looking for a daily source of encouragement, please feel free to check out my daily positivity podcast here.
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