by Jessica Nicholson - CountryWeekly.com
George Jones celebrated his 80th birthday in grand style with not one, but two parties last night (Sept. 13). Though George’s actual birthday was on Sept. 12, the good times kept going the next night with celebrations at Rippy’s and at the Grand Ole Opry.
The festivities kicked off at Nashville music club and restaurant Rippy's, where George was presented with a custom-made "Possum" cake. Guests dined on hors d'oeuvres as a three-piece band played. Travis Tritt, known for his '90s hits such as "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)," flew in to help the Possum celebrate his 80th year. Eddie Raven, Bryan White, Jamie Dailey of bluegrass vocal duo Dailey & Vincent, Jason Michael Carroll, and country-gospel singer Guy Penrod were all on hand to help celebrate. “He cut one of my songs [“I Should’ve Called”] a long time ago,” says Eddie. “I’ve always been a big fan of his. He’s a wonderful man.”
Follow up:“It’s wonderful to know that you've got friends left that still love you, and Lord, I love them, too,” George tells CountryWeekly.com. He certainly has no shortage of big-name friends. Later in the evening, George took the stage at the Grand Ole Opry’s Birthday Bash, which featured musical tributes by George’s good friends and fellow artists Alan Jackson, Jamey Johnson, Joe Diffie, Lee Ann Womack and others.
Joe Diffie offered up his classic hit, “John Deere Green,” while Alan Jackson gave a classic rendition of George’s “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and later performed a version of the George and Tammy Wynette classic “Golden Ring” with Lee Ann Womack. Newcomer Eric Lee Beddingfield performed his ode to the legend, “The Gospel According to Jones.”
Jamey Johnson performed “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” while the Opry’s newest members, The Oak Ridge Boys, performed “Same Old Me” before the show closed out with a rendition of “I Don't Need Your Rockin’ Chair,” with George singing along with Alan, Montgomery Gentry and Jamey.
George has certainly earned the right to take things easy, and he tells CountryWeekly.com that's just what he plans to do. “I’m just going to try to live the last few years and work a little bit and enjoy myself,” says George.
During the course of his career, George has had more than 150 charting singles, including the hits “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “The Grand Tour,” “The One I Loved Back Then,” “Good Year for the Roses,” “Why Baby Why” and “Golden Ring” with Tammy Wynette.