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Country singer and songwriter George Jones was born into poverty, but became a successful musician later in life. His first hit was the 1955 song "Why Baby Why."
George Jones talks about his fight against addiction.
Waylon Jennings fights the Nashville establishment.
Merle Haggard tells the public about his criminal past on Johnny Cash's TV show.
On February 11, 1968 Johnny Cash recorded a live show at Folsom Prison in California offering the inmates the concert of a lifetime.
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Breaking ties with Pappy Daily, Jones began working with Billy Sherrill, one of Wynette's producers. Sherrill added a certain polish to Jones's sound.
Behind the scenes, Jones battled with drug and alcohol abuse. He and Wynette had a tense, combative relationship, but they projected an image of being country music's reigning king and queen. They scored several hits with their duets, notably "The Ceremony" and "We Can Make It," the latter of which proved to be a bit of misnomer,
as Wynette filed for divorce shortly after the song's release. The couple tried to reconcile, recording "We're Gonna Hold On," but while the song made it to the top of the country charts, Jones and Wynette continued to struggle. They had a daughter, Tamala Georgette, in 1970, but their relationship continued to spiral downward thereafter.
Jones's heartache seemed to seep out of his 1974 solo hit, "The Grand Tour," a gut-wrenching ballad about the end of a marriage. He and Wynette divorced the following year. Oddly enough, Jones and Wynette continued to work together, recording hits like 1976's "Golden Ring."
By the mid-1970s, Jones was falling apart both physically and emotionally, as the years of drinking and abusing cocaine had begun to take its toll. He became unreliable and unpredictable, disappearing without any notice and failing to show up for recording sessions and concerts. With all of the cocaine use, Jones dropped a substantial amount of weight, becoming a mere shadow of his former self.
Despite these dark times, Jones managed to make some interesting music. He recorded a popular duet with James Taylor, "Bartender's Blues," in 1978. He then landed back on the top of the charts with 1980's "He Stopped Loving Her Today," from the album I Am What I Am, Jones's biggest seller to date. In 1982, Jones teamed up with another country legend, Merle Haggard, for A Taste of Yesterday's Wine.
In 1983, Jones began to abandon his self-destructive ways. He married Nancy Sepulvada that year, and later said that her love helped him want to straighten up his act. He had some successful duets around this time, among them "Hallelujah, I Love You So" with Brenda Lee and "Size Seven Round (Made of Gold)" with Lacy Dalton. As a solo artist, he enjoyed several popular singles from his 1985 album Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes, including its title track. His last solo Top 10 country hit came in 1989 with "I'm a One Woman Man."
While he remained a darling of country music critics, George Jones seemed to be pushed off the radio in the 1990s by a new generation of stars. This new wave of country artists, including Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Shania Twain, produced a slicker, pop-influenced sound. Jones may not have been generating hit singles, but he continued to produce some strong-selling albums in the '90s. In 1995, he reunited with Wynette for One. Around this time, Jones gave readers an inside glimpse into all of his troubles and triumphs with his autobiography, I Lived to Tell It All, published in 1996.
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A uniquely American genre, country music got its start in the South in the early 19th century, when immigrants blended their Old World sounds with African-American musical styles. But it was the lives of the musicians, as told in their songs, that turned country into one of the best-loved musical styles in the United States. Listeners could relate to Jimmie Rodgers' stories of the railroad in "The Brakeman's Blues"; Hank Williams' struggle with depression in tunes such as "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"; and the promise of finding someone to rely on in George Jones' "Walk Through This World With Me." And its the universal struggles of love, loss, joy and longing found in each country song that keeps this music—and its performers—relevant throughout time.
Country Music Pioneers 6 people in this group
When it comes to singing about struggle and emotion, there are few genres that match the intensity of country music. Country music was born from musicians that were brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves from happiness to heartache. Because of country icons like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jimmie Rodgers, this southern, soulful genre has grown to become loved by many. Browse through the legends that established country music as the popular genre that it is today.
Country Legends 18 people in this group
Rags to Riches 40 people in this group
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