The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend
Updated Edition | by Bob Allen
George Jones: The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend by Bob Allen (March 26, Backbeat Books, $24.99) is a hard-hitting portrait of one of the most revered singers in the history of country music. Jones’s nearly six-decade-long career has had a profound impact on modern country music and has influenced several younger generations of singers, including Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Tim McGraw, Trace Adkins, and others.
Jones, who died last year at the age of 81, recorded classics like “Why, Baby, Why” (1955), “Window Up Above” (1960), “The Race is On” (1964), “Golden Ring” (1976 as a duet with ex-wife tammy Wynette) and “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980). These Jones hits and others have earned indelible inclusion in the pantheon of all-time country classics. Along the way, Jones recorded duets with everyone from Garth Brooks, Linda Ronstadt, and Elvis Costello to Ray Charles, Keith Richards, and Gene Pitney.
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For his longevity and influence, Jones was awarded Kennedy Center Honors in 2008, and that same year, was inducted into the Country Music Hal of Fame. In 2012, he earned a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.
In George Jones: The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend, Allen recounts Jones’s larger-than-life tale of rags to riches and (at least for awhile) back to rags again. From the start, Jones’s life, as often reflected in his music, was shaped by misdirection, chaos, turmoil, and emotional strife aggravated by a ferocious appetite for alcohol. Fame and adulation seemed to only intensify his personal travails. As he once observed, “All my life, it seems like I’ve been running from something. If I knew what it was, maybe I could run in the right direction, but I always seem to end up going the other way.”
In a postscript, new to this edition, Allen looks back at the relatively happy ending to Jones’s story. During his final years, he got clean and sober, got right with his fans and creditors, repaired his relationships, and by most accounts, found peace of mind at long last.
March 26, 2014
6″ x 9″
Backbeat Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bob Allen is a former editor of Country Music magazine. His articles, essays, and reviews on popular music have appeared in Esquire, Rolling Stone, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, The Saturday Evening Post, and Billboard. As a writer and editor, he has also contributed to several Time-Life music publications, as well as the Country Music Foundation’s Encyclopedia of Country Music. Allen lives in Eldersburg, Md.
PRAISE FOR GEORGE JONES
“Authentic and haunting… We can be grateful…for this thorough, heartfelt and unrelenting book.”
— Country Rhythms magazine
“The work transcends mere country music biography – it is a major American biography, a work that delivers a well-defined, important portrait of a great American singer.”
— Spotlight on Country