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Remembering George Jones: Alan Jackson Sings ‘Choices’ at the CMA Awards in 1999 in Rebellion

George Jones
Toby Canham, Getty Images

My emotions are running so high as I write this post since learning of George Jones’ death. There will be much written and said about the greatest country singer of all time in the days and weeks ahead. I could write a book about how I feel right now and more important, what George Jones meant to country music and his everlasting impact on the genre. Instead, this post will be dedicated to a moment that brought Jones to tears in his living room in 1999. In May of 1999, Jones released a song, which chronicled his life and his struggles with alcohol, drugs and money. The song was called ‘Choices’. The song did well enough that the CMA asked Jones to perform a very shortened version of the song on the CMA Awards Show telecast that year.

Jones was not willing to do a shortened version of a song that was powerful and so intensely personal for him and refused the invitation. As a result, he did not perform and was not even in attendance for the show. Alan Jackson however, was scheduled to perform his hit at the time, ‘Pop A Top’.

Jackson performed a shortened version of ‘Pop a Top’ and then hesitated for just a moment. When he resumed singing, he did the chorus for Jones’ ‘Choices’ much to the delight of the crowd. When he finished, he simply walked off the stage to a thunderous and very long standing ovation thus, sticking it to the CMA. Jones was watching at home and was moved to tears.

Jackson did what essentially nobody had ever done quite in that way, flipping off the CMA. That night certainly backfired a little on the CMA, but it was a shining moment for George Jones and for the very close-knit community of country artists. See that incredible moment below along with a YouTube presentation of George Jones singing ‘Choices’. Goodbye George and thank you…..for everything.


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