George Jones Joins Kenny Chesney to Sing ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today’ in 2011 Concert

by Katie Maloney
(Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)

Kenny Chesney said George Jones was like a father to him. And what do all good fathers do? They surprise their sons on stage during concerts.

Country music star Kenny Chesney first met George Jones in 1993. Chesney was just starting out and had landed a gig opening for Jones on several shows. One night, Jones and his wife, Nancy, asked Chesney if he wanted to fly back to Nashville with them. That night, not only did Chesney get to fly back to the city where country music dreams come true, but he also got to sit next to his hero, George Jones. When Jones passed in 2013, Kenny Chesney was one of the first celebrities to publish a tribute. Chesney wrote, “George Jones was always there in my life.  He meant so much to so many…He was always this larger-than-life figure that I thought I’d never meet, much less become friends with, or have in many ways as a father figure in my life.”

As a father figure, Jones took Chesney under his wing for many years. He even surprised Chesney during one of his shows in 2011. Jones got Chesney’s entire band in on the secret. While Chesney was between songs during a show, Jones walked out on stage and surprised him. The two then sang “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”

George Jones surprised Kenny Chesney on stage during a concert.

Kenny Chesney Offered To Chop Kindling For George Jones’s Wife

As Kenny Chesney got to know George Jones before his passing, he also grew close to Nancy. Naturally, after Jones passed, Chesney wanted to make sure Nancy was taken care of. And he made that clear with a heartwarming promise in his tribute to Jones. During his tribute, Kenny Chesney talked about one of the first songs he ever heard by Jones. He said that he’d listen to “Who’s Gonna Chop My Baby’s Kindlin’ When I’m Gone,” in his grandmother’s kitchen as a kid. Then Chesney made Nancy a heartfelt promise.

“I came here today to say to Nancy that I love you, and I loved George like a father…And Nancy, on my way here, I listened to a lot of his music in my car. I played ‘Who’s Gonna Chop My Baby’s Kindlin’ When I’m Gone.’ And George is gone, and I think I speak for a lotta people when I say if you need help chopping kindling,’ I’ll be there.  I love you very much.”