George Jones was laid to rest yesterday the way he lived his life, surrounded by music. A nearly three-hour public funeral yesterday at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, featured live performances by Kid Rock, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and more. The audience included former First Lady Laura Bush, along with Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, and of course Nancy Jones, the wife of the country legend, who died last week at age 81.
The Grand Ole Opry has pulled most of the performances from the Web, but the whole event was broadcast live on cable and on local TV, satellite and terrestrial radio, and online. Kid Rock performed a new song, a tender ballad called “Best of Me,” which he performed on solo acoustic guitar; you can listen to that and his remarks below. Otherwise, you’ll have to settle for low-quality videos that escaped copyright concerns: Watch Alan Jackson cover Jones’ classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today” lower on the page, along with Gill and Loveless singing “Go Rest High on the Mountain.”
Speakers at the memorial included Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Charlie Daniels, who spoke and sang at the event, came up with the perfect words to honor Possum.
“George Jones’ voice was a rowdy Saturday night uproar at a back-street beer joint, the heartbroken wail of the one who wakes up to find the other side of the bed empty, the far-off lonesome whistle of the midnight train, the look in the eyes of a young bride as that ring is placed on her finger, the memories of a half-asleep old man dreaming about the good old days,” Daniels said, as quoted by CBS. “Lost love, lost innocence, good and bad memories, and experiences that are just too much for a human being to deal with. He sang for us all, the non-stop partiers, the guys who are alone and the girl done wrong, the puppy lovers, the extrovert, the introvert and the guy at the end of the bar who never seems to go home … George had a song for everybody.”
George Jones memorial musical performances:
Tanya Tucker with the Imperials, “Old Rugged Cross”
Randy Travis, “Amazing Grace”
Oak Ridge Boys, “Farther Along”
Charlie Daniels, “Softly And Tenderly”
Travis Tritt, “Why Me Lord”
Kid Rock, “Best of Me”
Vince Gill and Patty Loveless, “Go Rest High on That Mountain”
Brad Paisley, “Me & Jesus”
Ronnie Milsap, “When the Grass Grows Over Me”
Wynonna Judd, “How Great Thou Art”
Alan Jackson, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”