Country singer whose music was informed by his tumultuous life of excess
George Glenn Jones, singer, songwriter and guitarist: born Saratoga, Texas 12 September 1931; married 1949 Dorothy Bonvillion (divorced 1951; one daughter), 1954 Shirley Ann Conley (divorced 1968; two sons), 1969 Tammy Wynette (divorced 1975; died 1998; one daughter), 1983 Nancy Sepulvado; died Nashville 26 April 2013.
From The Independent 29th April 2013
George Jones was one of the greatest country singers, but despite the fact that he has had more records in the US country charts than anybody else, he was largely unknown outside that genre. He ignored trends; he never wanted to go pop; and his albums were shoddily packaged with minimum playing time. Nobody tried to widen his appeal, least of all Jones himself, who was even paranoid about appearing in New York and once ruined an industry showcase by reworking his country hits as though he were Donald Duck. At his best, Jones was a marvellous narrative singer, able to extract every ounce of meaning from a mournful lyric. He said it was easy because he just thought back to some event in his own colourful life.
George Jones was born with a broken arm in Saratoga, Texas in 1931, the youngest of eight children. His father was a timber company truck driver and after moving to Beaumont, Texas, a pipe fitter in a shipyard. He was a heavy drinker and violent, in contrast to Clare, who played piano for a fundamentalist church. Jones was given a guitar when he was nine and was soon playing on the streets for tips.
He left home at 15 and found work on a radio station then joined the duo, Eddie and Pearl, playing honky tonks for $17 a week. He was nicknamed Possum for his close-set eyes and upturned nose. At 17 he married Dorothy Bonvillion but, wary of responsibilities, he left before the birth of their daughter. Expecting to be jailed for lack of child support, he joined the US marines. On leaving the forces in 1953 he became a house painter.