I thought it would be fun every once in a while if I wrote about the stories behind some of country's all-time classic songs. Every song has a story behind it, and I thought I'd start with one of the biggest songs in country music history.
Many consider George Jones' classic, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," one of the greatest country songs of all time. It's certainly one of the saddest songs ever recorded. Co-written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam, "He Stopped Loving Her Today" was originally recorded by Johnny Russell, but his label, Mercury Records, decided not to release it as a single.
The song eventually made its way to legendary producer, Billy Sherrill, who liked it but insisted that another verse be added, this one showing the woman in the song returning to the dead man's funeral. Initially, the Possum didn't want to record it. He thought it was just too morbid and that radio would never pick it up.
Sherrill eventually convinced Jones to record it, and they went into the studio. Even after the session and hearing the song on playback, Jones insisted that no one would want the song because it was just too sad and morbid. Sherrill disagreed and bet the Possum $100 it would be a hit.
Jones took that bet, and he happily paid Sherrill shortly after "He Stopped Loving Her Today" climbed to No. 1 in early July of 1980. It would go on to win Single of the Year awards from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. Jones also earned a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
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