He Stopped Loving Her Today
George Jones, Billy Sherrill, and the Pretty-Much Totally True Story of the Making of the Greatest Country Record of All Time
A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a country music masterpiece
When George Jones recorded "He Stopped Loving Her Today" more than thirty years ago, he was a walking disaster. Twin addictions to drugs and alcohol had him drinking Jim Beam by the case and snorting cocaine as long as he was awake. Before it was over, Jones would be bankrupt, homeless, and an unwilling patient at an Alabama mental institution. In the midst of all this chaos, über producer Billy Sherrill--the man who discovered Tammy Wynette and co-wrote "Stand by Your Man"--would somehow coax the performance of a lifetime out of the mercurial Jones. The result was a country masterpiece.
In He Stopped Loving Her Today, the story behind the making of the song often voted the best country song ever by both critics and fans, offers an overview of country music's origins and a search for the music's illusive Holy Grail: authenticity. The schizoid bottom line--even though country music is undeniably a branch of the make-believe world of show biz, to fans and scholars alike, authenticity remains the ultimate measure of the music's power.
"An engaging account of how country music really gets made, full of insider details and revealing stories. All the insights of an academic analysis of country music production, but a LOT more fun to read. "
--Joli Jensen, author of The Nashville Sound: Authenticity, Commercialization, and Country Music- UPM
"The making of 'He Stopped Loving Her Today' was the perfect storm of record making. Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman gave me the perfect song, George Jones was the perfect singer, and we had the perfect musicians and the perfect studio. All I had to do was show up and then listen and wait about a year to release the perfect record. "
--Billy Sherrill, country music producer, songwriter, and record label executive; a 2010 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee- UPM
"Jack Isenhour has crafted a fascinating account of the writing, recording, reception, and durability of a single solitary song. The fact that I am a part of the story makes me an especially hard critic, and I am greatly impressed by Isenhour's dedication to the facts and his abilities as a great storyteller. Anyone interested in country music history or an inside look at the music business will love this book. "
--Bobby Braddock, songwriter and author of the memoir Down in Orburndale; a 2011 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee.- UPM