Kenny Remembers George Jones

posted April 26th, 2013 at 1:05 pm

by Josh Martn

Legendary country icon George Jones passed away Friday morning at the age of 81. For Kenny Chesney, Jones was like a father.

“He had a voice that was the truth, raw and unfiltered. You can’t get any realer, any more tortured or any more alive. No one can do what George Jones does, and that’s why 50 years later, he still stands out as one of the greatest singers in any genre of all time. … We were great friends, but it was really more like a father/son relationship. He even showed up in Lexington, Kentucky two years ago to surprise me onstage for my birthday… all the way from Nashville, to surprise me and sing ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ with me, which will be one of the greatest memories of my life. … When I was just staring out, and I was picked to open the George Jones-Tammy Wynette Reunion Tour, I thought I’d made it… Then one night, George asked me if I was heading home because he and Nancy had a plane, and they’d take me,” Chesney recalls. “I remember sitting there on that jet, thinking, ‘This can’t be happening’ because he was George Jones, and I was some kid from nowhere.’ I’m sure he knew, but he was generous to kids chasing the dream, and I never forgot it.”

In an interview a couple years ago, George praised Kenny and spoke about their relationship:

I love Kenny, and he has remained as close as a son to me. My stepdaughter with Nancy worked for Morris Management, who manages Kenny. Kenny was just starting out and we all agreed to bring him along on the tour. He took his first private plane trip with me and he was just thrilled. In fact, he wore overalls that day and gave them to me. I have them framed down in my memorabilia basement! Through the years, Kenny always stayed in touch and, as he became such a big star, he never forgot me. We do little surprises for each other. Just a couple of months ago, I surprised him on tour and walked out onstage singing to him. He just about fell over. He was so happy and emotional. He knows I don’t normally show up at other people’s shows, and it was a wonderful moment between us. We had dinner back in Nashville a couple of nights later. Kenny is a good, good man and I think of him as a son — and he calls me “Dad.” I am so proud of all that he’s accomplished, and he has stayed the same down to earth humble guy that he’s always been.

Tagged in Personal, Related Artists

  • Jane Kelly

    Love the story from both sides!

  • Shep

    Tears…. So sweet. Kenny was surprised that night when George walked on the stage and so were all us KC fans…A beautiful memory to cherish.


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