Former manager recalls days with George Jones in Muscle Shoals

Published: Apr. 27, 2013 at 1:56 AM CDT|Updated: May. 25, 2013 at 1:58 AM CDT
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Gerald Murray and George Jones
Gerald Murray and George Jones

MUSCLE SHOALS, AL (WAFF) - People across the Tennessee Valley are remembering a music icon. Country singer George Jones died Friday morning in a Nashville hospital. He was 81 years old.

Jones spent several years during the peak of his career in Muscle Shoals.

Friday afternoon, his former manager, Gerald Murray, talked about those days.

"We'd go to Colbert Park and we'd take the cheapest thing you could cook on in this $200,000 motor home and tour buses we had and put the Shake and Bake in the plastic bag and put it on the grill," he said.

From Shake and Bake to platinum records, Murray spent several years with the king of country music.

"I knew there was something really special about him, and to me and to a lot of people he's the king of country music," said Murray. "He had this natural ability to just captivate the audience."

The second floor of his Muscle Shoals business still looks the way it did back in the early 80s when he worked with Jones.

From photos to record deals - even some of his old stage costumes - Murray was right there with Jones during the peak of his career.

"When he came along he had 'He Stopped Loving Her Today,' George hated it. He didn't want to do and I had to make him, and I loved it," he said. "I just thought it was a great song and he didn't like it, didn't want it."

That song would go on to top the country charts as one of the greatest country songs of all time.

"A good guy and I'm really, just really bothers me because we were so close for so long there," said Murray.

Nicknamed "The Possum," George Jones now leaves an emptiness in the country scene only to be filled with memories and music.

"He'll always be there. He'll always be in our hearts and minds - to think about the great music. That is the great music, those guys that came along in that era, but I would put him right at the top," Murray said.

George Jones had a concert planned in Huntsville for July 12.

To get a refund on concert tickets, go to your place of purchase. If you purchased through Ticket Master, the full purchase price will be refunded on your card.

If you have any questions, call the Von Braun Center at 256-533-1953.

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