Country music

George Jones’ life of bad habits finally made him suffer

Dr Gabe Mirkin

George Jones lived and sang about grief and poverty, and went on to become one of the greatest country music singers of all time. He’s recorded over 900 songs and rated the most hits of any country singer, but he paid the price for spending a tremendous amount of time on the road and sleeping in a bus or car while traveling from a city. to the other. He had a miserable childhood, multiple marriages and divorces, and abused his body and mind with alcohol, tobacco, and drugs that destroyed his lungs, liver, heart, and stomach.

The first years in music

He started life in pain when the doctor who gave birth to him let go and broke his arm. He was one of seven children and grew up in Saratoga, east Texas, with a father who worked in a shipyard and was a violent alcoholic who brutalized his wife and children. He was exposed to music at a young age; his father played the harmonica and the guitar and his mother played the piano. George got his first guitar at the age of nine. His father rewarded his musical talent by coming home with his drunk friends in the middle of the night and blackmailing his young son to them. As a teenager, George made pocket money singing on street corners.

He left home at 16 and traveled to Jasper, Texas, where he sang on KTXJ and KRIC radio stations. Between 1947 and 1955 he worked and sang on radio stations, married and divorced his first wife, served in the Marines, and began recording songs he wrote. His excessive alcohol consumption made him an angry person who found it difficult to stay in a relationship. At 19, he married Dorothy Bonvillion for a year. Her third marriage at 23, to Shirley Ann Corley, lasted 14 years. He likely inherited his alcoholism from his father because he had a lifelong chronic drinking problem. He also smoked most of the time and took amphetamines and cocaine because, like many other musicians at the time, he believed these drugs would make him a better performer.

With Tammy Wynette: short marriage, lasting duo

At 37, he married budding country singer Tammy Wynette and despite fighting all the time for his alcohol and cocaine indulgences, they became the best country music duo in the world. Even after divorcing after seven years of marriage, they still produced many prominent songs, including “Golden Ring”. Their divorce really hurt him; he lost weight, never stopped drinking for a while, quarreled with friends and strangers and missed recording sessions and concerts, sometimes without even canceling them, and became famous under the name of “No Show Jones”. When he was 48, he weighed less than a hundred pounds because alcohol had pitted holes in his stomach and he would throw up every time he tried to eat. He was bankrupt and had to sleep in his car.

“He stopped loving her today”

He was so talented that when he abstained from alcohol, he recovered and his singing career blossomed. In 1980, at age 49, he recorded “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, which was the country’s most popular song for 18 weeks. If you listen to the lyrics and the melody, you will have tears in your eyes. It tells the story of a man who was rejected by his girlfriend, but he keeps all his letters and photographs and says he will love her until his death. She finally returns to attend his funeral. The song was named Best Single Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music and it was Country Music Association Song of the Year in 1980 and 1981. It was ultimately voted Greatest Country Song of the Year. all the time. This helped Jones win the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1980 and led to a very successful contract with CBS Records.

In 1981, at age 52, Jones met and married Nancy Sepulvada. a non-drinker who caused him to quit cocaine and reduce his alcohol consumption. She helped him manage his money and his career, encouraged him to make new records, sing a duet with his ex-wife, Tammy Wynette, and perform regularly at concerts. He remained mostly sober for the rest of the 1980s and released several albums including Who will fill their shoes, whose title track won the CMA Video of the Year award.

The last years and the end

Jones has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, received the National Medal of the Arts and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and many other awards and honors. However, the last years of his life were horrific. The alcohol had permanently damaged his liver and the tobacco had permanently damaged his lungs, so his poor health dominated everything he did and he had to cancel and reschedule performances over and over again. In March 2012, he developed a cough that got so bad that in May he had to be hospitalized for five days. Later that year he began what was to be a 60-city tour, but on April 6, 2013, he gave his last concert at the Knoxville Civic Coliseum. On April 18, he had to be hospitalized in Nashville, and after six days in the intensive care unit, he died on April 26, 2013. The official cause of death was given as “hypoxic respiratory failure”. His lungs were permanently damaged from years of smoking, so he couldn’t get enough oxygen into his body to keep his brain alive. The week after his death, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” was once again listed as one of the best songs in the country.

George Jones’ Life Lessons

• You never forget poverty or child abuse, which can leave permanent scars that promote insecurity and rage.

• Smoking causes permanent damage to the small hair-like structures called cilia that line the bronchi that carry air to and from the lungs. The eyelashes are supposed to sweep the mucous membranes and dirt that you breathe in up to your mouth so that you can swallow the pollutants that you have breathed in with the air. When your eyelashes are damaged, your lungs fill with mucus, eventually enough to prevent oxygen from entering your bloodstream. Without oxygen, your brain dies; Jones died of suffocation.

• Chronic alcohol use can kill you by destroying your liver, heart, brain and all the other organs in your body. Ten percent of all North Americans are alcoholics. Alcoholism means that a person does not have to drink, but once they have drunk, they must continue to drink. Alcoholics are unable to take a single drink, so they should avoid exposure to alcohol. They should not keep any alcohol in the home, avoid people who drink, places where they serve alcohol, and any exposure to alcohol.

• Many musicians take amphetamines because they make them more alert and uninhibited and help them add more personality to their performances.

• Narcotics like cocaine are addictive. As soon as an addict’s cocaine blood levels start to drop, the person gets sick and the only way to feel better is to take more cocaine. It is almost impossible for most drug addicts to stop taking cocaine without gradually decreasing exposure. Many musicians use drugs because they think it makes them less inhibited and therefore performs better.

Dr Gabe Mirkin is a villager. Learn more at

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