Top 10 George Jones Songs
When George Jones was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, Reba McEntire introduced the legend by saying “there are many ways to describe Country Music, but I can do it in just two words: George Jones.” You’re about to take a journey through Country Music history with our list of the Top 10 George Jones songs. From 1964’s ‘The Race Is On’ to 1980’s ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ and the triumphant come-back of 1999’s ‘Choices,’ these are not only the greatest hits from the man known as “the Possum” — these are some of country music’s greatest hits overall.
‘I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair’
From ‘Walls Can Fall’ (1992)
Many fans consider ‘I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair’ to be George Jones’ anthem. Released at the height of the ‘young country’ movement in 1992, Jones found a song that got airplay on few stations, but yet became a CMA winner and a smash hit with fans. Featuring appearances by Vince Gill, Mark Chesnutt, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, Joe Diffie, Alan Jackson, Pam Tillis, T. Graham Brown, Patty Loveless and Clint Black, the song was a reminder of how Jones influenced so many artists and how much he was still loved and appreciated.
With his highly publicized battles with alcohol, one might think that George Jones wrote the whiskey-soaked lyrics of this song. However, it was penned by the legendary soft rock singer/songwriter James Taylor, who also appeared on the record. ‘Bartender’s Blues’ peaked at No. 3 in 1978 and became a jukebox staple in every honktonk in America. The sad country waltz is the quintessential George Jones classic that belongs on our list of the Top 10 George Jones songs.
‘I Always Get Lucky With You’
From ‘Shine On’ (1983)
Merle Haggard and George Jones hit the charts in 1982 with ‘Yesterday’s Wine’ and ‘C.C. Waterback.’ After their success, producer Billy Sherrill found a song co-written and recorded by Haggard that he thought would be a perfect fit for Jones. Legend has it that Sherrill didn’t tell Jones who wrote ‘I Always Get Lucky With You,’ as he and Haggard were not speaking because of a falling-out that they had had. In the end, the legends made up and Jones hit No. 1 with a Haggard song. The two would later pair for a 2006 album titled ‘Kickin’ Out the Footlights.’
‘The Grand Tour’
From ‘The Grand Tour’ (1974)
‘The Grand Tour’ was a fitting story for George Jones to tell in 1974. Ironically, the song about touring and a once happy home ruined by divorce was telling a story close to what George Jones and Tammy Wynette were going through at the time. In an even stranger twist of irony, the song was co-written by Tammy Wynette’s future husband George Richey. The opening line, “Step right up, come on in…” is always greeted by thunderous applause at live concerts.
‘The Race Is On’
‘The Race Is On’ came along nine years into George Jones’ career. At the time, his catalog of hits already included ‘Why Baby Why,’ ‘White Lightning,’ ‘Tender Years,’ ‘She Thinks I Still Care’ and ‘The Window Up Above.’ Even if his early string of hits had ended a decade into his career, Jones would still have made an imprint in country music. However, it was just the beginning of the more than 165 records that would hit the Billboard Country singles chart. The song was later revived as a Top 5 hit by Sawyer Brown in 1989.
‘Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes’
From ‘Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes’ (1985)
George Jones has always been one of country music’s greatest links to the past. Jones represents where we’ve been and where we’re going in the genre. In ‘Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,’ he reminds us that he is a fan of the music that he sings, paying tribute to his heroes like Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, while honoring his peers like Johnny Cash and Conway Twitty. This song is one of the most moving moments of a live George Jones show. A video is played behind him while showing pictures of these long lost legends and pictures of the next generation of legends, like Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. Any passionate fan of country music completely understands why this song is a must on our list of the Top 10 George Jones songs.
‘The One I Loved Back Then (the Corvette Song)’
It seems like more people know this song as “hotter than a two dollar pistol” rather than the actual title, ‘The One I Loved Back Then.’ Powered by foot-stomping fiddles, a comical story of a man’s lust for a car and Jones’ unforgettable low notes, this song is a surefire winner with any country music fan. The hit cruised up the charts to No. 3, where it stayed for two weeks and ultimately became a George Jones classic.
Representing the duets with his wife Tammy Wynette we find the 1976 smash ‘Golden Ring.’ Ironically, for the couple the song was a hit one year after their divorce. George and Tammy paired up for a series of hits during their six-year marriage that reflected their own life, including ‘We’re Gonna Hold On’ and ‘Take Me.’ Even more impressive songs like ‘Two Story House’ and ‘Near You’ were also hit duets after their divorce. In 1995, the Hall of Fame duo would have the chance to record and tour one more time together before Wynette’s passing on a project called ‘One.’
‘Choices’ is a story that can be told by anyone. However, when it’s told by George Jones, you listen close, as he’s a man who humbly admits to the mistakes he’s made in life. As a younger listener, you feel like you’re getting some priceless words of wisdom. As an older listener, you simply relate to the good and bad choices you’ve made in life. Although not a radio hit, the song earned a Grammy and represents the ‘modern’ work of the legend, who at 80 is still recording and touring. ‘Choices’ is a must have on our list of the Top 10 George Jones songs.
‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’
George Jones singing ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ is a milestone moment in country music history. Many polls have been conducted and countless artists have cited this as the best country song of all time. It’s no surprise, then, that we also place this song at No. 1 on our list of the Top 10 George Jones songs. The morbid story of a man who has to die to finally stop loving his ex was not a favorite of Jones at first. It’s legend that he actually told producer Billy Sherrill that he didn’t think anybody would want to buy such a sad story. Of course, the Possum quickly changed his feelings for the song when it hit No. 1, earned a Grammy, ACM and CMA award.