Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The greatest country song of all time

On this date in 1980, George Jones hit No. 1 with what is generally considered to be the greatest country song of all time, "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

And there's a funny story behind the song. Jones didn't want to record it.

The Possum's career had hit something of a snag when he came across Curly Putnam and Bobby Braddock's weeper about a man who loved a woman who didn't love him back -- until it killed him. Jones' producer at Epic Records, Billy Sherrill, loved the song and just knew it would be a smash. Jones wasn't so sure.

Sherrill kept after him, going so far as to make a monetary bet with the Possum. Jones finally recorded it, snarling as he walked out of the studio, "Nobody will buy that morbid son of a bitch!"

It proved to be Jones' first No. 1 hit in six years and served as a "comeback" single. Jones won a Grammy Award in 1980 for Best Country Male Performance. The song also took home the Academy of Country Music's Single of the Year and Song of the Year. It also helped Jones win the CMA's Best Male Vocalist of the Year for 1980 and 1981.

Oh, and yep, Jones paid his bet.

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