Songwriter says George Jones hit was almost not released - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Songwriter says George Jones hit was almost not released

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Country music legend George Jones' signature song He Stopped Loving Her Today is one that has been declared the greatest country song of all time, and the man who wrote it said it almost didn't get released.

The monster hit Jones recorded in 1980 was CMA's song of the year two years in a row, and in 2009 it was added to the Library of Congress as a cultural treasure to be preserved for future generations.

Jones didn't think anyone would want to listen to it, as he told Channel 4's Demetria Kalodimos nearly 20 years ago.

"I shied away from the song even after I cut it. I thought it was a little bit too sad for the general public. But I was really wrong, and I am very happy I was wrong that time," Jones said in 1993.

The man behind the song is Bobby Braddock, who has written 29 of the songs Jones recorded.

Braddock thought it was an OK song when he and Curley Putman wrote it in the late 1970s, but he didn't think it was a great song.

"I kept a diary, a journal. And I would rate the songs. And I rated that one a seven," Braddock said.

After he heard Jones' recording - with his voice like a steel guitar and the strings ascending like they were reaching for the heavens - Braddock said he changed his mind.

"I thought, holy catfish, this is something really powerful," he said. "People say it's the best country song of all time. I personally don't think that. I think it was certainly one of the best recordings, maybe the best vocal performance by a country artist, ever. And I'm glad they picked our song to do that with."

Before the song was ever recorded, both Braddock and Jones felt there was something missing.

The song is about a man carrying his love for a woman to his grave, but the song needed a few lines about the woman coming to his funeral.

That was the finishing touch.

"You'd give anything in the world if you could find those kinds of songs every day, but it's not meant to be," Jones said.

Braddock said he was really moved during the Opry House memorial to Jones when Alan Jackson removed his cowboy hat during his performance of the signature song and the audience stood in unison.

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