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Publisher's Summary

In the vein of the classic Johnny Cash: The Life, this groundbreaking work explores the wild life and extraordinary musical career of "the definitive country singer of the last half century" (New York Times), who influenced, among others, Bob Dylan, Buck Owens, Emmylou Harris, John Fogerty, George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Garth Brooks.

In a masterful biography laden with new revelations, veteran country music journalist/historian Rich Kienzle offers a definitive, full-bodied portrait of legendary country singer George Jones and the music that remains his legacy. Kienzle meticulously sifted through archival material, government records, and recollections by colleagues and admirers, interviewing many involved in Jones' life and career. The result: an evocative portrait of this enormously gifted, tragically tormented icon called "the Keith Richards of country".

Kienzle chronicles Jones' impoverished East Texas childhood as the youngest son of a deeply religious mother and an alcoholic, often-abusive father. He examines his three troubled marriages, including his union with superstar Tammy Wynette, and looks unsparingly at Jones' demons. Alcohol and later cocaine nearly killed him until fourth wife Nancy helped him learn to love himself. Kienzle also details Jones' remarkable musical journey from singing in violent Texas honky-tonks to Grand Ole Opry star, hitmaker, and master vocalist whose raw, emotionally powerful delivery remains the gold standard for country singers.

The George Jones of this heartfelt biography lived hard before finding contentment until he died at 81 - a story filled with whiskey, women, and drugs but always the saving grace of music.

©2016 Rich Kienzle (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Interesting story, bad reading

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend any biography of one of the greatest country artists, George Jones. I will, however, be hesitant to listen to other books read by John Pruden.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

It's disappointing that he didn't have enough respect for the subject or listeners to learn how to pronounce the names of people and places commonly known.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not what I expected...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story was just that a story.. told by a third person talked mostly about his incredible talent and not the journey... lost interest.. we all know he is talented just how he got there and the journey would have made it interesting...

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Great book!

A very honest and fair telling of his life. I've never heard this many slang terms for drunkenness in one sitting before. My only complaint is Vidor is pronounced vieder and not veedoor! 😉

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Never knew there was so much to know

One hell of a story about one hell of a life. Was not a hardcore fan, but you couldn't help but trip over a George Jones song when I was coming up as a child. Didn't know anything about his backstory, all the challenges and failures, or his eventual if somewhat incomplete resolution of at least some of them.

Story thoughtfully written without sensationalizing frankly pretty sensational life events. Delicate care to retain a reasonably objective perspective on the most difficult issues, but providing enough detail that you remain rapt with attention all the way to the next curveball.

Left me a little exhausted from all the ups and downs, but enjoyed the tour. It's a little too picture perfect have a wrap up and conclusion at the end, but that is the tendency these days with many autobiographies.

Narration is of high-quality, but lacks the depth and variety of a Christopher Ryan Grant narration, making it easy to let your thoughts wander during listening. Had to friend probably 50 different times while listening for that very reason.

All in all, very well done, and might even listen to it again to pick up what was missed.

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  • Harry
  • mile marker 31
  • 05-15-16

One of the true greats of country music.

He was one of the greatest and last of the true country greats and he made it to the very end.