WHO: George Jones
WHAT: “Super Hits”
ORIGINALLY RELEASED: 1987
BILLBOARD PEAK: 56 (re-release)
LAST WEEK: Off the chart
WHY?: If you hate country songs that specialize in being down and out, or just down in general, George Jones isn’t the performer for you. “Achy Breaky Heart” may have been popularized as a single by Billy Ray Cyrus in 1991, but Jones had been living the concept of a heartbroken cowboy since he debuted in 1957. His ability to inject pathos into songs such as “Why Baby Why” and “Tennessee Whiskey” made him the envy of vocalists across a range of genres. Frank Sinatra once famously referred to him as the “second best singer in America.”
The best track on “Super Hits,” and the best song in Jones lengthy repertoire (and some have even suggested to be the greatest country song of all time), has to be “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” The track topped the country charts during 1980, and B-side “A Hard Act To Follow” seemed to be about the A-side. The narrative wrenches the heart, as Jones describes a man who constantly prays his love will return to him. She does, to his funeral. The day described in the song’s title was the day of his death.
“Super Hits” was originally released in 1987, and features a mere 10 tracks from Jones career, but they’re a good jumping off point. The album may have reentered the Billboard 200 as fans continue to remember the country legend following his death in April. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” jumped back to no. 21 on the country singles charts immediately following his passing.
Two days before what would have been George Jones‘ 82nd birthday, the iconic singer’s country gospel record ‘Amazing Grace’ will be released.
It seems fitting to release such a personal album close to the day that for so many years, celebrated Jones’ life. On September 20, ‘Amazing Grace’ — which had already been planned and blessed by Jones before his passing on April 26 — will be available for purchase. This album is especially sweet, because gospel music had always brought peace and calm to Jones throughout his turbulent life.
The man lovingly known as ‘Possum’ was reverential in his approach to singing sacred songs. In fact, he didn’t believe vocal theatrics should be involved in that specific style of music, and that was demonstrated so well with his eloquent and moving rendition of ‘Amazing Grace,’ used during the video/ bio segment of his Kennedy Center Honors Induction in 2008.
His version of the song resonated with so many and resulted in hundreds of calls asking for the recording. The record has not been in the marketplace since 2005 (to the degree that is possible in the digital age), but now, fans of Jones can hear that beautiful song, along with many other gospel tunes, this fall.
Jones recorded the gospel songs with producer Billy Sherrill in 2002, with the exception of one track, ‘Great Judgment Morning,’ which was produced by Brian Ahern in 1994. The Billy Sherrill songs represent the final sessions between Jones and Sherrill, as Sherrill had retired and was not interested in going back into the studio. However, Jones was persistent in trying to get Sherrill to do one last project, and they finally agreed to do a gospel collection. It also marked the first time that Jones had actually recorded an entire gospel project and not just isolated songs tacked onto the end of secular sessions.
With a legacy of charting records in six decades and earning Gold certification well into his late 70s, Jones will not be forgotten. And with his newest ‘Amazing Grace’ album, he’ll live on in the lives of fans, serenading them with songs so dear to his heart.
George Jones’ legacy lives on with the birth of his twin great grandchildren, born in Nashville, TN on August 9, 2013. Before George’s passing, he composed a letter to his great grandchildren-to-be, knowing that he might not get the chance to meet them. Pictured below is George’s guitar with the letter he wrote, next to his newborn great grandchildren. We welcome them to the Jones family.
Nashville’s Fox News 17 got a chance to talk with George’s granddaughter Jennifer mother, and you can watch the video HERE
George Jones’ 1998 collection 16 Biggest Hits has been certified platinum by the RIAA signifying 1 million units sold. The certification comes 11 years after it reached gold status, for 500,000 units sold. As previously reported, some of Jones’ gospel recordings with producer Billy Sherrill will be issued as a new compilation, Amazing Grace, on Sept. 10 by Bandit Records. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Jones died April 26.