George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is the quintessential county and western song and by far one of my personal favorites. I'm not sure when I first heard the song, although it was probably while riding in an old Ford two-tone pickup with my grandpa. Soon after college I was really in to classic country music and my love for the song was reaffirmed.
The song was released April 14, 1980. According to his biographer, Bob Allen, George Jones didn't like the song when he heard it. His producer, Billy Sherrill, remembered Jones saying "nobody'll buy that morbid son of a bitch." Of course, Jones was wrong. In fact, he was awarded a Grammy for best male vocal performance and the Academy of County Music named the song single and song of the year for 1980.
Jones' later credited the song for reviving his career. A career which lasted nearly 60 years and only ended at his death earlier this year.