Country Music

How One Song Saved George Jones’ Career

George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” released on April 14, 1980, is widely hailed as a cornerstone of country music. Written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman, the song narrates a man’s unwavering love that endures until his death. Despite its later acclaim, Jones initially disliked the song, finding it overly long, melancholic, and unlikely to succeed. His personal struggles with substance abuse at the time also made recording the song challenging.

Producer Billy Sherrill’s belief in the song was instrumental. He convinced Jones to record it, meticulously assembling the final version from multiple takes. The result was a monumental success that topped the country charts for 18 weeks, marking a significant revival of Jones’ career. Before this, Jones had not achieved a solo No. 1 hit in six years and was facing both personal and professional difficulties.

The song earned Jones numerous accolades, including a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and multiple Country Music Association (CMA) Awards. It is often credited with revitalizing his career, leading to a resurgence in his popularity and esteem in the music industry. Jones himself acknowledged the song’s impact, famously noting that his four-decade career was salvaged by a three-minute song.

“He Stopped Loving Her Today” transcended its commercial success to leave a lasting impact on country music. It became Jones’ signature song and is frequently cited as the greatest country song ever written. The song’s legacy is further underscored by numerous covers and tributes by various artists, including a notable performance by LeAnn Rimes, who praised it as the best song ever written in country music.

Jones’ relationship with the song is a testament to music’s transformative power. Despite his initial reservations, the song defined his career, illustrating the timeless appeal of heartfelt storytelling in country music. Today, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” remains a beloved classic, celebrated for its emotional resonance and enduring narrative.

For those interested in exploring more about George Jones and his music, various sources provide in-depth information about his life and career.

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