By Matthew Diebel, NBC News
Opinion: Johnny Cash had a stock answer to that oft-asked question, “Who is your favorite singer?” “You mean,” he teased, “apart from George Jones?”
Yes, there’s pretty much universal agreement among country singers that Jones, who died Friday at age 81, was the greatest of all time. From the oldies – Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard – to the relative newbies – Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis – all were of one mind.
Nashville stars, past and current, paid tribute to the legendary singer, who died on Friday, April 26.
(READ: George Jones, Country Legend, Dead at 81)
(READ: George Jones: 7 Essential Tracks)
Vince Gill: ”There aren’t words in our language to describe the depth of his greatness. I’ll miss my kind and generous friend.”
Garth Brooks: ”The greatest voice to ever grace country music will never die. Jones has a place in every heart that ever loved any kind of music.”
Alan Jackson: “Well, heaven better get ready for some great country music. While George was known for his wild and crazy days, I’ve known him for 25 years as a friend. He had grown into a real good man. Of course, he will always be the greatest singer and interpreter of real country music – there’ll never be another. Like the song says, ‘You know this old world is full of singers, but just a few are chosen to tear your heart out when they sing. Imagine life without them…Who’s gonna fill their shoes.’”
Hank Williams Jr.: “Today is a sad day in Country music. We have lost another piece of history. George Jones was not only a good singer, but was a good friend. He will be missed by many.”
Merle Haggard: ”The world has lost the greatest country singer of all time. Amen.”
To honor George Jones, EW asked the Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall to recall his fondest memories of the country legend, who died today at the age of 81. They include the time Jones told Bonsall he should’ve just kicked his ass — and hearing “He Stopped Loving Her Today” before its release.
By: Joe Bonsall Read More
He Ignited Songs With His Voice
His was a voice of kerosene teardrops about to burst into a raging fire. When George Jones sang a song, there was never any doubt that he committed completely to whatever emotion – usually one of raw ache, unfiltered regret, unspeakable torment – the song held.
And he could pick ‘em. “Window Up Above,” “Good Year for the Roses,” “The Grand Tour,” “Walk Through This World With Me,” “If My Heart Had Windows” were all trenchant moments in the caverns of the human heart. Even his novelty songs were world class, be it the hiccupping “White Lightning,” the horse track metaphoric “The Race Is On” or, in later years, the feisty all-star “I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair.”