George Jones, the country singer Gram Parsons called the king of broken hearts, has died, aged 81. He lived far longer than anyone could have expected, given his chaotic, self-destructive lifestyle. Anyone who thinks rock stars invented the drugs, sex and booze culture could commence their re-education by reading the New York Times obituary here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/27/arts/music/george-jones-country-singer-dies-at-81.html?pagewanted=allNo-Show Jones, as he became known due to his notorious unreliability, recorded a lot of dire material, but no one ever sang a painful country ballad better. The most famous example was his 1980 comeback hit He Stopped Loving Her Today, a wondrously overwrought tearjerker from which he wrung every ounce of sentiment.
My other personal favourite comes from his 1994 album The Bradley Barn Sessions, on which Jones performed with a stellar lineup of country and rock luminaries, among them Keith Richards and Mark Knopfler. On the track Where Grass Won’t Grow, he was joined by Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Trisha Yearwood. If you’re not into country music (and we have to accept that many people just don’t get it), you could easily dismiss this song as pure hokum. I would never waste my time playing it for some of my friends, who, for all their virtues, are musical bigots. But I think it’s just magnificent.If God's a country music lover, as I'm sure He is, he'll be waiting to welcome Jones at the Pearly Gates. The question is, will he turn up?