On This Date: George Jones Releases His Iconic Hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today” In 1980

George Jones with a microphone
Chris Walter/WireImage via Getty Images

George Jones had a storied country music career that lasted from 1953, to his death in 2013.

However, with his success came along a ton of trials and tribulations.

After his marriage fell apart with Tammy Wynette back in 1975 due to his drug and alcohol abuse problems, Ol’ Possum was at a crossroads in his career.

He was beginning to fall out of love with playing country music, and was in a lot of debt due to his legal issues and battle with addiction. But there was one song he released on this date in 1980 that would put his name back on the map, and solidify his place among the country legends: “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

Written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman (who also wrote Wynette’s D-I-V-O-R-C-E), it easily became his most recognizable and popular song. So while Jones himself didn’t write it, it’s often linked back to his love for Tammy.

It was released as the lead single on his album, I Am What I Am, and hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs, while also reaching as high as number two on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks.

On top of that, the song climbed to number 21 on the Billboard charts back in 2013 following Jones’s death. Even Alan Jackson, who is very vocal about Jones being one of his biggest inspirations, sang the song at his funeral.

Through all of the ups and downs Jones faced during his career, it’s really cool to see how his love for his former wife is what brought him back to the top of country music.

He thanked his ex-wife and his new “husband-in-law” at the 1981 ACM Awards when he won Best Song and Top Male Vocalist.

Alan Jackson’s stunning cover:

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