Music has been on my mind this weekend. Truthfully, it usually is somewhere near the top of my mind on any given day. But, sometimes the news of the week elevates music to an even greater sense of prominence. Such was the case on Friday when I learned (through Twitter, naturally) that George Jones, one of the last living legends of country music, had passed away at the age of 81.
As I noted in an earlier tribute, George Jones had a rare career that found him winning fans, recording and performing in seven different decades. In fact, he had just performed what would prove to be George Jones’ final concert of his life, here in my Knoxville, Tennessee, just a week before his death.
As is the case in almost any news event, I find myself turning to music either as therapy, consolation, inspiration or education. In the first hours after George Jones’ death, I — like probably millions of others — turned to my physical and online music collections to listen to the Possum’s songs as a final act of tribute.
You’ve probably found more than your share of compiled playlists of “must have” songs for your collection by George Jones. So, I won’t trouble you with something like that. Instead, I want to offer you a playlist that offers you some sense of Jones’ place on country music’s Mount Rushmore.
I think it’s usually a good sign of an artist’s impact and influence in his or her community, by how often he is name-checked or referenced in the works of others. It helps to explain why you could produce libraries of songs paying tribute to Hank Williams, Elvis or the Beatles, and the paucity of songs in reference to, say, Rockwell.
So, I took an opportunity to pull together a short playlist of a dozen of my favorite such songs that make reference to George Jones, his legend, his lifestyle and/or his songs. It’s available on Spotify for your listening pleasure:
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