George Jones, one of the greatest country singers of all time, has died in a Nashville, Tennessee, hospital after suffering from blood pressure irregularities and a fever,” reports USA Today. He was 81.
Although Hank Williams and Johnny Cash were symbolic of country music’s “mythology” and “attitude,” Jones was known for being its voice.
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Despite his personal struggles (he married four times, one of his exes being Tammy Wynette) and his very public battle with booze and drugs, Jones’ honky tonk, wallowing voice never let up. With a long line of hits like “White Lightning,” “Tender Years,” “She Thinks I Still Care,” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” Jones garnered two Grammy Awards and a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Jones was a huge inspiration, particularly to country artists of the 80s and 90s like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and Vince Gill—all of whom recorded with him on his 1992 track “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair.” In the last decade of his career, he recorded with Shooter Jennings, Dolly Parton, and Merle Haggard.