In sports, it's an unanswerable question: Who's the greatest football player ever? Who's the greatest basketball player ever? Who's the greatest baseball player ever?

In entertainment, it's an unanswerable question: What's the greatest movie ever? What's the greatest TV show ever? Who's the greatest actor ever?

But in country music, there is an answer, there is a consensus.

Who is the greatest country music singer ever? George Jones.

What is the greatest country music song ever? He Stopped Loving Her Today.

Case closed.

The Saratoga, Texas-born Jones first heard country music when he was seven and got his first guitar when he was nine. And from that time on, George was country music. He didn't invent it, he didn't change it, he didn't move it into a whole new direction.

He defined it and refined it.

From his first chart-topping hit 'White Lightning' in 1959 and over the next decades, George Jones grew into not only a country music superstar but a country music icon. The music, the songs were of course a major part of it, but there was more. His life off the records, off the stage, became as legendary as the performer. Many called him 'Possum', many others called him 'No Show Jones'. The stories of the many, many shows he missed, the drunkenness, the tumultuous marriage, and magic with the (nearly) legendary Tammy Wynette. George didn't just sing country songs, he lived them

And somehow, despite what many people thought would happen...he survived.

And then 1980 happened. The year of 'He Stopped Loving Her Today'.

It was a song that George reportedly hated, famously saying 'No ones going to buy that morbid S.O.B.'  It went to the top of the chart and stayed at #1 for 18 weeks. It not only won a Grammy, but it was also the Country Music Association Song of the Year for 1980...and 1981. That's right, 2 years in a row.

And so the legend grew.

George Jones's final concert was on April 6th, 2013 at the Knoxville Tennessee Civic Center. And then April 26, 2013, arrived and was one of the saddest days in country music history. It was the day we lost the Possum.  George passed away at the age of 81.

But the music hasn't died.

I've always thought if someone asks you what the definition of real honest-to-goodness country music is, well...that's easy. Just play them 'He Stopped Loving Her Today'. Or for that matter, any other George Jones song.

Wikipedia Contributed Tho This Article

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