Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney and Others Remember George Jones

Apr 26, 2013 2:01pm

George Jones, 81, died today after a year of failing health, but he left an indelible mark on country musicians and the genre. Below, the Nashville community reflects on the country legend:

• “He had a voice that was the truth, raw and unfiltered. You can’t get any realer, any more tortured or any more alive. No one can do what George Jones does, and that’s why 50 years later, he still stands out as one of the greatest singers in any genre of all time. … We were great friends, but it was really more like a father/son relationship. He even showed up in Lexington, Kentucky two years ago to surprise me onstage for my birthday… all the way from Nashville, to surprise me and sing ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ with me, which will be one of the greatest memories of my life. … When I was just staring out, and I was picked to open the George Jones-Tammy Wynette Reunion Tour, I thought I’d made it… Then one night, George asked me if I was heading home because he and Nancy had a plane, and they’d take me,” Chesney recalls. “I remember sitting there on that jet, thinking, ‘This can’t be happening’ because he was George Jones, and I was some kid from nowhere.’ I’m sure he knew, but he was generous to kids chasing the dream, and I never forgot it.” - Kenny Chesney

gty george jones dm 130426 wblog Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney and Others Remember George Jones

                                                        (Image Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

• “Its’ a sad day for country music and a great loss for those of us who knew him. I was blessed to call George my friend. He was one of the best country singers there ever was. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nancy, and all of his family. It’s a sad, sad day.” – Loretta Lynn

• “Well, heaven better get ready for some great country music. While George was known for his wild and crazy days, I’ve known him for 25 years as a friend. He had grown into a real good man. Of course, he will always be the greatest singer and interpreter of real country music. There’ll never be another. Like the song says, ‘You know this old world is full of singers, but just a few are chosen to tear your heart out when they sing. Imagine life without them. Who’s gonna fill their shoes?’” – Alan Jackson

• “My heart is absolutely broken. George Jones was my all-time favorite singer and one of my favorite people in the world. My heart goes out to Nancy and the rest of his family.” – Dolly Parton

• “We lost one of the best voices God created this morning. Our hearts are saddened to hear that George Jones has passed away. … Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and all of the family.” – Faith Hill

PHOTOS: In Memoriam – George Jones Has Died at 81

• “To lose him, country music, we lost our Elvis. In my opinion, that for me that was our Elvis that was the guy. … Any country artist that’s come on the scene in the past thirty years will tell you there’s George Jones DNA in their music, it’s in their head, It’s the standard to which you hold yourself to as a country artist if you’re a true country artist. … His approach to a vocal, to an interpretation of a lyric, was so penetrating. You know he didn’t practice those notes. They just came flying out of his mouth and out of his soul and body-slammed anybody who ever heard it. And once it was recorded, that recording was magic.” - John Rich

• “The greatest voice to ever grace country music will never die. Jones has a place in every heart that ever loved any kind of music.” – Garth Brooks

• “My friend, the greatest singer of all time, has passed. To those who knew him, our lives were full. To those of you who don’t: discover him now.” – Brad Paisley

Reporting by ABC News’  Hunter Kelly, Andrea Dresdale and Christopher Watson.

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