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The Turnaround of George Jones with “He Stopped Loving Her Today”

George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” released on April 14, 1980, is considered one of the most iconic songs in country music history. Written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman, the song narrates the heart-wrenching story of a man who clings to his love for a woman until his death, encapsulating themes of enduring and tragic love. Despite its ultimate success, Jones initially hated the song, deeming it too lengthy, sorrowful, and gloomy. His personal struggles with substance abuse at the time also made the recording process challenging.

Producer Billy Sherrill’s unwavering belief in the song’s potential was instrumental in its creation. Sherrill convinced Jones to record it and meticulously assembled the final version from multiple takes. The song’s release marked a turning point in Jones’ career, as it soared to the top of the country charts for 18 weeks and rejuvenated his career. Prior to this, Jones had not achieved a solo No. 1 hit in six years and faced significant personal and professional difficulties.

The song’s impact extended beyond commercial success, earning Jones a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and several Country Music Association (CMA) Awards. It was widely credited with revitalizing his career, bringing renewed popularity and respect. Jones himself acknowledged the song’s profound impact, famously stating that his four-decade career was saved by a three-minute song.

“He Stopped Loving Her Today” has left a lasting legacy in country music, becoming Jones’ signature song and frequently hailed as the greatest country song ever written. Its influence is evident in the numerous covers and tributes by various artists, including a notable performance by LeAnn Rimes, who described the song as the best ever written in the genre.

Jones’ journey with “He Stopped Loving Her Today” exemplifies the transformative power of music. Despite his initial doubts, the song became a defining moment in his career, demonstrating the timeless appeal of heartfelt storytelling in country music. Today, the song remains a beloved classic, revered for its emotional depth and enduring narrative.

For further details about George Jones and his musical legacy, you can explore various sources that chronicle his life and career.

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