The Grand Tour

The Grand Tour : The Life and Music of George Jones

3.74 (87 ratings by Goodreads)
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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, recollections by colleagues and admirers, interviewing many involved in Jones's life and career. The result: an evocative portrait of this enormously gifted, tragically tormented icon called "the Keith Richards of country."

Kienzle chronicles Jones's impoverished East Texas childhood as the youngest son of a deeply religious mother and alcoholic, often-abusive father. He examines his three troubled marriages including his union with superstar Tammy Wynette and looks unsparingly at Jones's demons. Alcohol and later cocaine nearly killed him until fourth wife Nancy helped him learn to love himself. Kienzle also details Jones's 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 eighty-one--a story filled with whiskey, women and drugs but always the saving grace of music.

Illustrated with eight pages of photos.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 134 x 203 x 20mm | 225g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins US
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0062309927
  • 9780062309921

Review quote

"[The Grand Tour] is perhaps the most honest portrayal of one of music's most controversial figures."--Library Journal
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Back cover copy

Critics, fans, and peers have all called George Jones the greatest country singer of all time. His story is woven out of the richest American fabric: He was born to a God-fearing mother and booze-loving father in East Texas, one of eight children who grew up in the kind of poverty written about in many a country song. Whether he was singing hymns with a husband-wife evangelical team at ten, gigging in Beaumont's rowdy honky-tonks at nineteen, producing spectacular, bestselling duets with Tammy Wynette at forty, or receiving the Kennedy Center Honors at seventy-seven, music and music alone drove him.

His voice--raw, emotive, and passionate--made him a star and an influence on other singers. But as his star ascended, Jones wrestled with the demons that plague many artists--alcohol, divorce, drugs, debt, arrests, and violence. In this definitive biography, called by critics "unflinching" and "dazzling," country music critic and historian Rich Kienzle paints a rich portrait of a modest man who overcame his darkest moments to create a lasting legacy.
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Rating details

87 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 24% (21)
4 31% (27)
3 41% (36)
2 2% (2)
1 1% (1)
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