A few weeks ago, I read about the passing of country legend, George Jones. I remembered the first time I completely misunderstood one of his greatest hits.
The song I heard when I was a pre-teen was his classic He Stopped Loving Her Today. I thought this may be different from the Country Western songs I was used to hearing. His voice was low and melodious, not a twang to be heard. Also, there were strong violins instead of brassy fiddles throughout the song. Country Westerns songs were not my favorite, but this one seemed different, so I gave it a listen. However, I was puzzled by the lyrics: why was the main character “all dressed up to go away”? Where was he going? I recalled in the beginning of the song, the man “went half crazy now and then” so I assumed he was going to a mental hospital. This notion was further validated with the lyrics “soon they will be carrying him away” –I figured he was in a straight jacket and had no way of leaving on his own. I thought that was an odd subject for a song, even for Country and Western, but I went with it. The one thing I couldn't figure out was the line “they placed a wreath upon his door”—was it during Christmastime??
The next time I heard in on the car radio, I asked my mother, what was up with the wreath mentioned in the song. She informed me that the subject of the song had died of a broken heart and it was customary to hang a black wreath on the door of the deceased. I should have known-- the first line of the song was a major clue: “He said I’ll love you ‘til I die.” It proved to be just as depressing as all of the rest of the Country Western songs! Thus, I gave up listening to any of George Jones’ songs and for that matter, Country music for a while.
Fast forward to when I married my husband, who believes there is only two types of music—Country and Western. And who happened to be one of his favorite singers—you guessed it, George Jones! One day on a road trip, that infamous song came on the radio.
I figured I must be in the minority not liking this song. After all, it has been considered the most romantic Country song ever. What was I missing?
Then the deciding factor kicked in that would change my mind about this song. My husband announced he could completely relate to the man in the song--he would love truly me until he died. This thought was all mushy and sentimental, what every girl wants from her new husband!!