On This Date: George Jones Scored His Second #1 Single With “Tender Years” In 1961

George Jones country music
George Jones

With a legacy like he left us with, one might think that country music legend George Jones had his unique and mature sound from the very beginning.

But his patented delivery really only started to establish itself within his 1961 song “Tender Years.”

George Jones and Darrell Edwards wrote the tune that turned into Jones’ second number one hit, and arguably set the trajectory and style for the rest of “The Possum’s” country music career.

I still don’t think that’s a very flattering nickname, even though Jones apparently made peace with it at some point along the way. He probably didn’t care what you called him as “Tender Years” went on an incredible run on the country music charts in 1961.

And on this date, 62 years to the day, “Tender Years” was sitting atop the country charts.

The song called the number one spot home for seven non-consecutive weeks, and also spent an impressive 32 weeks on the country charts. “Tender Years” even cracked the Hot 100 during its run, making it as high as the 76th spot on the chart.

“Tender Years” tells the story of a more mature man in love with a younger woman who isn’t ready to settle down into a serious relationship. Based on the lyrics, it actually seems as though the woman in the song is in a relationship, of which George Jones (or at least the narrator of the song) is willing to wait out:

“So if I can’t be your first loveI’ll wait and be your lastI’ll be somewhere in your futureTo help you forget the past

And you’ll know that I love youWith a love that’s sincere‘Cause I’ll wait till you’re through livingIn your tender years”

The production behind the song paired with Jones’ powerful vocals (usually peaking selectively within the beginning of each chorus) really makes this one of the country music legend’s best works. Personally, I could listen to the smooth and melodic rhythm of the song all day long, though that would mean I couldn’t listen to other George Jones songs…

Listen to “Tender Years” below:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock