Before They Were Legends: George Jones [VIDEO]
George Glenn Jones was born on September 12, 1931 in Saratoga, Texas, and was raised in Vidor, Texas, with his brother and five sisters.
When he was seven, his parents bought a radio and he heard country music for the first time. Given a guitar when he was nine, Jones was soon busking for money on the streets of Beaumont.
He left home at 16 and went to Jasper, Texas, where he sang and played on the radio station. He married his first wife Dorothy when he was 19, but they divorced within a year. The Korean War was underway, and he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He was stationed in California for his entire service. Not long after his discharge, his music career took off.
One of the best known stories of George Jones’ drinking days happened when he was married to his second wife, Shirley Corley:
“Once, when I had been drunk for several days, Shirley decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about eight miles from Beaumont and the nearest liquor store. She knew I wouldn’t walk that far to get booze, so she hid the keys to every car we owned and left. But she forgot about the lawn mower.
I can vaguely remember my anger at not being able to find keys to anything that moved and looking longingly out a window at a light that shone over our property. There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat. A key glistening in the ignition.
I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.”
George Jones in Concert
This riveting performance was recorded live at the Church Street Station in Orlando, Florida.
George Jones is arguably the greatest singer in the history of country music.
He recorded one of the greatest country records of all time, He Stopped Loving Her Today, which won him single and male vocalist of the year honors from the CMA in 1980 and 1981 and a Grammy.
Despite his identification with somber songs, Jones has also shown a fondness for lighthearted and novelty tunes such as, White Lightning. Its this versatility that makes a George Jones concert such a memorable event.