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George Jones, born September 12, 1931 in Saratoga, Texas, died today in Nashville. As to his extraordinary voice, one can't say it better than this quote from Waylon Jennings: "If we all could sound like we wanted to, we'd all sound like George Jones."

He had #1 hit songs in 4 decades, and over 150 hits altogether. Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, and has been honored at the Kennedy Center. His Lifetime Achievement Grammy was presented to him by Merle Haggard. And so on and so forth. There's a steady stream of tributes going up on FaceBook today. From his tribute page at the Country Music Hall of Fame:

Many attempts have been made to capture in words the immense, singular vocal gifts that have made George Glenn Jones one of the most influential singers in country music history.
Like Hank Williams before him, Jones has emerged—quite unintentionally—as an archetype of an era that most likely will never come around again. He is a singer who has earned his stature the hard way: by living his songs. His humble origins, his painful divorces, his legendary drinking and drugging, and his myriad financial, legal, and emotional problems have, over the years, merely confirmed his sincerity and enhanced his mystique, earning him a cachet that, in country music circles, approaches canonization.

County Music Hall of Fame 2011, upon induction of songwriter Bobby Braddock
George Jones, Trisha Yearwood at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville (2011)
An imperfect life, and a great talent. I got to meet him once, backstage at one of Hobbs' gigs. He approached me when there was no need to. Doesn't mean I knew him, just a memory of a gentle moment, nothing major. One needs to be somber when someone departs this life. But you also have to celebrate their life and talent.

He inspired songs by others, too. This one was inspired by the time his then wife, Tammy Wynette hid his car keys. Jones had a pretty serious drinking problem and she didn't want him driving. He found the tractor keys and headed out anyhow, despite her best efforts.

I also can't say it better than marykk in the comments:

Hope his old John Deere has a full tank and is waiting at the gates.

Originally posted to Land of Enchantment on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 07:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by Rebel Songwriters, Protest Music, Three Star Kossacks, An Ear for Music, and DKOMA.

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