George Jones' nearly 60-year recording and performing career has had a profound influence on modern country music and influenced a younger generation of singers, including Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Tim McGraw, and Trace Adkins.
As Merle Haggard said of Jones in Rolling Stone magazine, His voice was like a Stradivarius violin: one of the greatest instruments ever made.
Jones' saga is a larger-than-life tale of rags to riches and back to rags again.
He was born into near poverty in a backwater patch of East Texas.
His formal education ended early; by his early teens, he was singing on the streets of Beaumont, Texas, for tips.
After beginning to record in the mid-1950s Jones became, by sheer dint of his vocal prowess, one of Nashville's most celebrated honky-tonk singers.
But from the start, Jones' 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 merely intensify his personal travails. Jones' story has a relatively happy ending. With the help of fourth wife Nancy during the final decade and a half of his life, he got clean and sober, was feted as a much-revered elder statesman for the music, and, by most accounts, found peace of mind at long last.