Keith Richards praises George Jones as “pure American music” in a statement sent by his representative today. “You can hear a million imitations on the radio every day – but there was, and ever will be, only one George Jones,” Richards says.
You can read the Rolling Stones guitarist’s full remarks below. Our full report from today’s public funeral for Jones – which will feature performances from Brad Paisley and Kid Rock, as well as speeches from Kenny Chesney, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former First Lady Laura Bush – will be coming soon.
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In related Jones news, Billboard reports that his album sales have skyrocketed by 1,002 percent since his death last week, moving 35,000 units from his entire catalogue. The top seller was the 1998 compilation 16 Biggest Hits, which sold 9,000 copies this past week, and debuted at Number 42 on the Billboard 200 – the first time the country singer has ever placed higher than Number 53.
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Richards’ full statement:
George Jones has left us. We have lost one of the most individual singers of all time. I cannot express the emptiness I feel.
George was as country as it can get, but he was beyond any bag you want to put him in. He was pure American music without ever waving a flag – you can hear a million imitations on the radio every day – but there was, and ever will be, only one George Jones.
He possessed the most touching voice, the most expressive ways of projecting that beautiful instrument of anyone I can call to mind. You heard his heart in every note he sang. Sinatra called him the second best singer ever. (The number one obviously being Frank!). I would contest that.
I truly loved ‘the possum.’ He was a crazy as me, and just as free… and, oh boy, could he hang.
FORMER FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH, GOVERNOR BILL HASLAM, FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE, CBS NEWS’ BOB SCHIEFFER, BARBARA MANDRELL, PETE FISHER & KENNY CHESNEY SET TO SPEAK
MUSIC FROM KID ROCK TO BRAD PAISLEY TO ALAN JACKSON SET TO TAKE THE STAGE IN HONOR OF GEORGE JONES
Nashville, Tenn. (May 1, 2013) – George Jones’ funeral will take place on Thursday, May 2nd at The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee, starting at 10 am (Central) and will be open to the public. Doors will open at 9 am.
In addition, national television networks CMT, GAC, RFD, and FamilyNet, as well as local Nashville stations WKRN 2, WSMV 4, WTVF 5, WZTV 17 will broadcast the funeral service “LIVE”, with radio partners WSM 650AM and SiriusXM Willie’s Roadhouse (Ch. 56) broadcasting the service. Fans around the world can listen online at wsmonline.com or watch online at opry.com.
“The caliber of speakers and performers is a testament to what George Jones meant to everyone in the world,” says publicist Kirt Webster. “Nancy is overwhelmed by the love and support of not only George’s fans, but also the music community, public figures and friends.”
The service will include music from Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill w/ Patty Loveless, Alan Jackson, Ronnie Milsap, Kid Rock, The Oak Ridge Boys, Brad Paisley, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, and Wynonna. Former First Lady Laura Bush, Kenny Chesney, Grand Ole Opry VP&GM Pete Fisher, Governor Bill Haslam, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Barbara Mandrell, and CBS News’ Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer will all make special remarks.
Fans not able to attend can leave a special message about George Jones at:http://tinyurl.com/GJtribute
The Thursday funeral service for George Jones will bring a morning full of music from his fellow country stars and will also feature appearances by former first lady Laura Bush, Governor Bill Haslam and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
Others announced to take the Grand Ole Opry House stage for the public funeral, whether performing or speaking, are Kenny Chesney, Charlie Daniels, Grand Ole Opry vice president and general manager Pete Fisher, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Wynonna Judd, Kid Rock, Patty Loveless, Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap, the Oak Ridge Boys, Brad Paisley, CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, and Tanya Tucker with The Imperials.
Many other fellow artists are expected to attend the Thursday service, which comes the day after family, friends and fellow performers are expected for a private Wednesday-evening visitation.
Jones, 81, died Friday after a week-long hospitalization at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. As news came of his passing, the country music community — fans and fellow artists — immediately responded with an outpouring of grief and memories.
Thursday’s public funeral at the Grand Ole Opry House is certain to be a major draw for fans near and far. The Opry House, which seats 4,400, is at 2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville. The service begins at 10 a.m.
April 30, 2013 at 7:59 AM (PT)
OPRY ENTERTAINMENT Classic Country WSM-A/NASHVILLE will be the exclusive radio source broadcasting the late County icon GEORGE JONES’ funeral services, live from the GRAND OLE OPRY HOUSE this THURSDAY (5/4), beginnging at 10a (CT).
“650 WSM broadcast GEORGE’s first appearance at the OPRY in 1956, it’s only right that we broadcast his last. This will allow the millions of JONES fans around the world, who are not able to get to the OPRY HOUSE, the chance to pay their last respects to the legend that is GEORGE JONES,” said WSM GM TOM ENGLISH.
OM JOE LIMARDI added, “Based on the outpouring of listeners and artists all weekend, it’s the right thing to do in honoring an artist with such a long and storied history with WSM.”
For more information, visit www.WSMonline.com.