Monday, September 11, 2006
Happy 75th birthday, George Jones
…Twitty and Hag were enough of an attraction, but the man I wanted to see was George Jones, the tragic, hard-drinking legend who Frank Sinatra himself described as the “second-best singer in America.” Sitting amid the crowd of rednecks in the Virginia arena, I began to hear something new in his ballads of cheating lovers, revenge, lifetimes of regret, and devotion beyond the grave. They were short stories in two-and-a-half minutes time, with surprise punchline twists whose literary and literate ironies were often lost on those who couldn’t hear past the steel guitars and fiddles…
That was when it hit me. I realized that America’s connection to A Current Affair and the reason our show connected to all the people in this crowd. Our stories were like George Jones’ songs. Not only were we giving importance and weight to events that affected ordinary people in out-of-the-way towns, we were making them universal. It wasn’t only the old Colliers magazine or O. Henry we invoked when we provided justice and morals and surprise endings. The epics on A Current Affair were, in a nutshell, re-enactments of the songs that had the audience teary-eyed.
That night, George Jones dethroned Elvis Presley as avatar of our work. George Jones was king.
--Tabloid Baby, Chapter 8
The immortal George "Possum" Jones, born September 12, 1931, and somehow still alive today.