The Old Man & The Duck: The Wild Story Of George Jones’ Intoxicated Multiple Personalities

George Jones country music
Jasper Dailey/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

George Jones is arguably the greatest country singer of all time. But he was also quite the character.

We’ve heard all kinds of wild stories about ol’ Possum over the years, but this one from Mike Judge’s Tales From the Tour Bus always sticks out to me in particular.

The series from Judge consists of interviews from a ton of people who were close to country music legends like Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, and so many others, telling stories that many people may not know.

Including this odd story about Jones himself.

When his then-wife Tammy Wynette couldn’t fight back against Jones’ alcohol abuse any longer, the two divorced, and she went on the road without Jones for the first time in years.

Jones had a hard time coping with the harsh reality, and began to spiral out of control with a bad cocaine addiction.

“George would jerk out a bag of cocaine and just get completely stoned… totally.”

Apparently, the excessive cocaine used forced some kind of psychotic breakdown in the country singers mind, to the point where he developed a multiple personality disorder…

And the personalities?

A duck named “DeeDoodle,” and “The Old Man.”

According to Tammy’s hairdresser’s Janette and Nanette Smith, the duck came first:

“The duck came first, and the old man came later so he could have somebody to talk to.”

People close to him said that he would stay up all night, having a conversation with the duck, which he spoke in a Donald Duck voice, and the old man, which was a slightly deeper, more gravelly voice than his own.

The psychotic breaks would happen when he was driving too, and the conversations between the “duck” and the “old man” would get so heated, that George would have to get in the middle of them to calm them down.

He’d be so focused on the fight going on between the two personalities, that he’d forget that he was driving and crash his car.

Finally, George realized he’d had enough of the duck, and when they were on the tour bus one night, he decided to “kick the duck off the bus.”

However, he began to miss the duck and felt bad for him, so he made the bus driver turn around so they could pick the imaginary duck up off the side of the road.

Eventually his bandmates had enough, and tried to convince him to get back on the road with Tammy so he could gain control of his life and perform again.

Nevertheless, George finally cleaned up and got sober in the years after he met his wife Nancy in 1981, shortly after recording the smash hit, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” After a couple DUIs in 1982, and a follow up drug and alcohol-induced stay at Hillcrest Psychiatric Hospital in 1983, George kicked the cocaine and finally started to perform sober in 1984. He stayed mostly sober through the rest of ’80s, however would succumb to alcohol once more… in a life-changing way.

In 1999, George was in a serious car wreck. He once again pled guilty to driving while under the influence, however this time, it was enough to scare him for good.

He told Billboard in 2006:

“When I had that wreck, I made up my mind, it put the fear of God in me. No more smoking, no more drinking. I didn’t have to have no help, I made up my mind to quit. I don’t crave it.

But when I first went back out on the road singing, I could sing high again. I got my highs back, but my low notes I’m kinda known for hitting… I couldn’t go down there no more.”

George Jones was definitely a wild character, but no doubt about it, one of the most talented and influential country singers of all time.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock