Walt Disney Records:
Biography of George Jones
Country music legend George Jones teams up with Kathy Mattea on "You've Got a Friend in Me," from Toy Story. The Country Music Hall of Famer has an endless list of awards and hit songs, including the No. 1 country song of all time ("He Stopped Loving Her Today").
Born and raised in the Big Thicket area of east Texas, Jones began his recording career in 1953, after a stint in the Marine Corps. He scored his first hit, "Why, Baby, Why," on the Starday label in Beaumont in 1955. In 1957, he signed with Mercury, where he cut rockabilly records as Thumper Jones and had a smash hit in 1959 with "White Lightnin.'" In 1962, he moved to United Artists, where his hits included the classic single "She Thinks I Still Care" in 1962 and "The Race Is On" in 1964. A move to Musicor in 1965 produced "Take Me" in 1966 and "A Good Year for the Roses" in 1970. He moved again to Epic in 1971 to begin a 20-year association with producer Billy Sherrill.
Jones's hits only tell part of the story. He was the Country Music Association's Best Male Vocalist in 1962 and 1963, back when the awards were still voted on by country deejays. He repeated as Male Vocalist of the Year and Single of the Year (for "He Stopped Loving Her Today") in both 1980 and 1981. In 1986, he won the CMA's Video of the Year award with "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes."
In addition to Jones's solo work, he set the standard for duets in country music, with partners ranging from pop star Gene Pitney in the '60s to new-wave rocker Elvis Costello in the '70s to fellow country superstar Merle Haggard in the '80s, and, of course, 10 albums and more than a dozen hit singles with Tammy Wynette.
In 1992, three decades after his first CMA award, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. In his acceptance speech, he asked radio programmers to give a fair chance to the older country artists. Appropriately, his single at the time was "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair." The record and video featured cameos by Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, Mark Chestnutt, Joe Diffie, Patty Loveless, Vince Gill, Clint Black, Pam Tillis, Garth Brooks, and T. Graham Brown, and "George Jones and Friends" won the CMA's Vocal Event award in 1993.