Written by the identical staff behind ex-wife Tammy Wynette’s 1968 signature “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “He Stopped Loving Her At present” could be nation music’s best punchline music ever. In well-drawn element, it describes a torch-carrying man whose love lastly comes again to him — at his funeral. It is such a pure match for the Possum’s anguished voice, you possibly can’t think about anybody else singing it. And it nearly didn’t occur.
In Bob Allen’s 1996 Jones biography The Life and Instances of a Honky Tonk Legend, producer Billy Sherrill mentioned that Jones “hated the melody and wouldn’t study it” as a result of it was “too lengthy, too unhappy, too miserable.” Even after he lastly gave in, Jones groused that, “No person’ll purchase that morbid son of a bitch.” As a substitute, “He Stopped Loving Her At present” turned Jones’ first chart-topper since 1974 and singlehandedly breathed new life into his profession.