George Glenn Jones (born September 12, 1931 in Saratoga, Texas), is an American country music singer known for his long list of hit records, his distinctive voice and phrasing, and his marriage to Tammy Wynette.
Over the past twenty years, Jones has frequently been referred to as "the greatest living country singer". The country music scholar Bill C. Malone writes, "For the two or three minutes consumed by a song, Jones immerses himself so completely in its lyrics, and in the mood it conveys, that the listener can scarcely avoid becoming similarly involved."
Throughout his long career, Jones made headlines often as much for tales of his drinking, stormy relationships with women, and violent rages as for his prolific career of making records and touring. His wild lifestyle led to Jones missing many performances, earning him the nickname "No Show Jones." With the help of his fourth wife, Nancy, he has been sober for many years. Jones clocked up more than 150 hits during his career, both as a solo artist and in duets with other artists.
Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas and raised in Vidor, Texas, along with his brother and five sisters (another sister died young before George was born), being exposed to music from an early age from his parents own record collection and listening to the gospel music he heard in church or in a barn. When George was seven, the Jones family bought a radio which introduced George to the country music that would become his life. The gift of a guitar when Jones was a young boy of nine soon saw him busking for money on the streets of his home town Beaumont.
Jones left home at sixteen and headed for Jasper, Texas where he found work singing and playing on a local radio station. Before he was out of his teens he married his first wife, Dorothy, but their union didn't even last a full year and Jones joined the United States Marine Corps. Despite the Korean War being fought at the time, Jones was not sent overseas; instead, he sang in bars near his base in California. After leaving the Marine Corps, his music career took off.
He currently lives in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife, Nancy Jones. Also in a separate house on his property live Sherry Hohimer, his stepdaughter. Sherry's husband, Kirk, helps George Jones with concert setup. Sherry and Kirk's children Carlos and Breann Hohimer and his other step daughter Adina and her son Cameron Estes who had lived on the property (George's grandchildren) live on his property.
Despite being in his seventies, Jones is still an active recording artist and still tours extensively on the North American continent as well as overseas. His other projects include the George Jones "University" which is a twice-yearly training program for those wishing to learn about a career in the music business. He also endorses his own brand of sausages which are produced for him by Williams Sausage Company of Tennessee using Jones's own recipe. The product boxes feature stories from Jones's colorful life. Other food products he has brought out include a range of barbecue sauces.
Jones and wife Nancy run a diner in Enterprise, Alabama which is decorated with memorabilia from Jones's long career in the country music business.
Jones is also a partner in Bandit Records, an independent record company set up by Jones and others when Jones's former record company Asylum Records was closed down by its owners AOL Time Warner. Bandit Records philosophy is to "create unique, interesting projects with artistic integrity that can operate free from the constraints of the corporate music industry".
Jones believed the 1983 Academy Award-winning film Tender Mercies, about the life of fictional singer Mac Sledge, was based on his own life. Actor Robert Duvall and other filmmakers denied this and claimed the character was based on nobody in particular.
In 2006, he was treated in a Nashville, Tennessee hospital for pneumonia but made a full recovery and continued with his prolific touring schedule.
In August 2008 George Jones was named "Artist of the Month" by GAC.
On December 7, 2008, George Jones was one of the annual recipients of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, along with vocalist Barbra Streisand, choreographer Twyla Tharp, actor Morgan Freeman, and musicians Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey from the British rock band, The Who. The gala, hosted by President Bush and Mrs. Bush, and taped in Washington, D.C., was aired on CBS television December 30, 2008.
2009 marks Jones's 56th year recording country music (1954-2009, inclusive, according to all major biographies) and he first hit the charts in 1955, according to GeorgeJones.com. Additionally, it is his 40th year (1969-2009, inclusive) as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.