George Jones Opens Up About His Drug Addiction & Mob Interactions During Candid ’90s Interview

George Jones country music

George Jones has been on the top of everyone’s mind after the electric TV preview of George & Tammy last week after Yellowstone. 

If you haven’t checked out the trailer or heard anything about it, you definitely should watch the first episode since it’s free to the public.

Here’s the trailer if you need a little more convincing.

After watching the episode, the acting was so convincing; it inspired me to learn more about who George Jones was. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t naïve in thinking he was a saint, and I had heard quite a few stories from my father about him from his time on Music Row.

But, I wanted to learn more for myself about who the legendary George Jones really was.

I stumbled upon a 1996 interview the other day in the depth of one of my searches. The Ralph Emery On The Record interview with Jones talked about so many crazy aspects of Jones’ life… including his involvement with the mafia and his cocaine addiction.

He opens up about he was at a low point in life and was approached by Sugar Baggott, who later became his manager and convinced Jones to start a nightclub in Printers Alley in Nashville called ‘Possums Hollar.’

After a few months of being in that crowd, he was still hitting rock bottom, and one night he was not doing well enough to do a show. Baggott took him in the back and gave him some coke to get him to sing all night.

“He said just sniff it and you’ll play all night… and I did.”

Ralph Emery then asked if that was the night he got addicted to the substance.

Jones replied with:

“Bad. I didn’t take it like anybody with any sins would take anything. When I found something good, I just got all of everything I could get… that’s funny, but it’s sad.

I didn’t want to lose that feeling, so I’d overdo it, overdo it, overdo it.”

It was shocking to hear then that Jones’ management thought the only way they could control him was under the influence of the drug.

It later came to light that his management had ties to the mob, and his wife, Nancy, was keen on the fact they had ulterior motives for Jones’ career.

They made him take a physical to take a life insurance policy out on Jones. He makes a morbid but hilarious remark to this note about how he was not able to do anything close to passing during that phase of his life.

“Yeah, they had me go get a physical… like I could pass anything like that at that time. But, and I hate to say anything like this on TV… but they can get you an insurance policy through the right channels.”

He implied that the mob was connected in pressuring the doctor to pass his physical so he could get a good insurance policy. But when asked if he thought they were gonna kill him to collect the money, he said no:

“They really thought I was eventually going to die or kill myself.”

This part of the interview was wild to me, especially this portion, and you have to appreciate his unapologetic honesty. Possum was something else but having the wrong people in his circle made him hit one of his lowest points.

Jones did live nine lives outside of being on stage, and if it wasn’t for his wife Nancy, he probably wouldn’t have lived as long as he did. He has credited Nancy on numerous occasions with saving his life.

The whole interview is well worth the watch:




A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock