Remember Which Country Legend Wrote George Jones’ Last No. 1 Hit?
On July 30, 1983, George Jones saw his final chart topper with the sentimental piano ballad, “I Always Get Lucky With You.” The country legend recorded the song for his 1983 album, Shine On, and it served as the second single off the project.
Jones wasn't the only country artist to record the song though. Years prior, Merle Haggard, who penned the song, put it on his 1981 album Big City. Haggard never released the song as a single and it was his co-writer and manager, Tex Whitson, who pitched the song to Jones' producer Billy Sherrill. Haggard and Whitson penned the song years before with Freddy Powers and Gary Church.
While it had been reported that Jones and Haggard weren't on speaking terms at the time, Jones decided to record the song anyway. "I Always Get Lucky With You" went on to become his ninth chart topper. It also knocked Haggard's song with Willie Nelson, "Pancho and Lefty," out of the top spot.
“I’d get mad at him over the years because of his self-damage, but everything I said to him was out of love,” Haggard (who died in 2016) previously wrote in an article for Rolling Stone after Jones died in 2013. “Imagine you’re George Jones, and every night you’re expected to sing as good as you did on a song like ‘She Thinks I Still Care.’ He was a shy country boy from East Texas walking around with that on his shoulders. He knew people expected him to be the greatest country singer that ever lived. He was the Babe Ruth of country music, and people expected a home run every time.”
Photos of Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard Dead at 79