Country Throwback: George Jones Performs ‘The Race is On’ on ‘The Ronnie Prophet Show’ in 1980

by Emily Morgan

In the 1980s, George Jones had what some call, one of the greatest country music comebacks. After stepping out of the spotlight, Jones had his musical rebirth when he performed on the “The Ronnie Prophet Show” in 1980.

The Possum dazzled the audience when he played his tune, “The Race is On.” He would also perform his famous heartbreaking track, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” on the Canadian music variety television series.

Throughout the ’60s and into the early ’70s, Jones produced several classic country hits that still find their way on the radio today. His songs such as “Window Up Above,” “She Thinks I Still Care,” and “The Grand Tour,” in addition to “The Race is On,” made Jones a household name.

However, by the mid-’70s, Jones’ alcohol and drug abuse combined with his troubled marriages left the singer with a tarnished career.

By the Spring of 1980, things began to look up for Jones after the release of “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Even though the song is full of sorrow and sadness, the tune turned Jones back into a happy man. It reached the top of the country charts for 18 weeks, becoming Jones’ signature song and contributing to his career’s resurgence.

“The Race Is On”: George Jones’ One & Only Top-40 Hit

Written by Don Rollins and performed by Jones, “The Race is On” became a hit on country music charts everywhere. The track uses thoroughbred horse racing as a metaphor for Jones’ romantic relationships. The track was the first single released from his 1965 album of the same name. Prior to the release of the album, Jones released the song in September of 1964. The song peaked at No. 3 on the “Billboard Hot Country Singles” chart and was No. 96 on the “Billboard Hot 100” in January 1965.

Another artist by the name of Jack Jones also released a non-country version of the song. His version also appeared on the “Billboard’s Pop and Easy Listening” charts. It also reached No. 15 on the “Hot 100” in 1965. Lucky for Jones, both of the recordings were combined and reached the No. 12 spot on “Cashbox” charts, thus giving Jones his only top-40 hit.