George Jones Album Sales Jump 1,000 Percent After Icon's Death

Country legend posthumously posts career best on Billboard 200 chart

george jones, album sales
George Jones in 2012 / Photo by Getty Images
Kyle McGovern WRITTEN BY
Kyle McGovern

The world lost country legend George Jones last week, but thousands of fans have added to their record collections.

Billboard reports that Jones' catalog album sales saw an exponential surge last week, with a total of 35,000 units sold, a drastic increase from the 3,000 moved the previous week. That spike represents a 1,002-percent (!) jump in the Possum's bankability. (Worth noting: Neilsen SoundScan's tracking period ended on April 28, so these figures only reflect data from the three days after Jones' April 26 death; he's very likely moved more units since.) 

In terms of chart placement, Jones hit a new peak with 1998's 16 Biggest Hits collection, which landed at No. 42 on the Billboard 200 with a 441 percent gain in sales (9,000 copies sold, up from less than 1,000 the previous week). Prior to this, Jones' career high on the all-genre Top 200 was No. 53 with 1999's Cold Hard Truth

Other Jones LPs to re-chart: 1987's Super Hits at No. 56 with 7,000 sold, up from 1,000; 2006's The Essential George Jones at No. 92 with 5,000 copies logged (up from "basically nothing," according to Billboard); and 2005's Hits I Missed... And One I Didn't at No. 183 with 3,000 moved, up from 1,000. 

On the digital landscape, Jones sold 149,000 song downloads, a massive increase from the previous week's 5,000 (a 2,739 percent increase, to be exact). That's more songs sold in a single week than in all of 2013 preceding his death (91,000). Jones' bestselling "He Stopped Loving Her Today" debuted at No. 15 on the Country Digital Songs chart with 34,000 sold, up from 1,000. 

It's common for a recently deceased artist's work to see a leap in sales, a la the Beastie Boys' chart dominance following last year's death of Adam "MCA" Yauch.

A public funeral for Jones will be held today (May 2) at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee. The event will feature appearances from former First Lady Laura Bush and Kenny Chesney, among others, as well as musical performances from Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and Kid Rock. For more information on the ceremony, which is streaming online and being broadcast on radio and television, head here.

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