I Lived to Tell It All
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Strong and sober, George Jones looks back on his life with searing candor. From his roots in an impoverished East Texas family to his years of womanizing, boozing, brawling, and singing with the voice that made him a star, his story is a nonstop rollercoaster ride of the price of fame. It is also the story of how the love of a good woman, his wife Nancy, helped him clean up his act.
electricity, and no money for ice, so Doris did what a lot of folks did—she put milk and other perishables in the well to keep them cool. She tied a glass jug of cow’s milk to the water bucket and let both sink gently beneath the dark water ten feet below ground level. The next day Doris drew a bucket of water, forgetting about the milk jug. It banged against the side of the well, shattered, and the water filled with glass and unprocessed cow’s milk. Doris was always blaming me for what she
an old one. Shirley finally had enough. I had been taking strong drink for about twenty years and had not realized that the drink was finally beginning to take me. A lot of doctors would tell me years later that I was an alcoholic—that I had a sickness. Such thinking wasn’t popular in 1966. Heavy drinking wasn’t thought of as a disease. It was thought to be a character flaw. People didn’t say with compassion that someone had a drinking problem. They said with disgust that he was a drunk. I
when I first heard that I had lost my blood. That’s what they called it back then—losing your blood—when you lost a close relative. I was playing a little town in Michigan on September 6, 1967, when my sisters Helen and Ruth called before the show, which was at an outdoor park. They said they had tracked me down through Pappy Daily, and that I should come home. “It’s Daddy,” Helen said. “He’s in a coma or something. We’ve had to put him in the hospital.” I drove to Detroit, where I caught the
working for a cement company where he sprayed poisonous chemicals to maintain the grounds. His nerves began to die to the extent that he dropped things and didn’t know it. He frequently didn’t know where he was going. So he was forced to quit and lived mostly in retirement until his death. My wife, Nancy, and I flew to Woodville, Texas, in June of 1993 for Dub’s funeral. The service was held at the Raleigh Funeral Home, where the crowd of mourners spilled into the yard. One of Dub’s
historic Printers Alley, the hotbed of Nashville tourism during the 1970s, had the spirit of the Possum Holler of a few years earlier. And its layout was very clever. A VIP Lounge was built at the same level as the stage. That meant that if a celebrity was sitting in the lounge he or she had to do nothing but take a few steps in order to be onstage. The stars usually sat together, so it was tempting for several to make their way to the stage after the first one broke the ice. Once again I had a