George Jones Once Sucker Punched Waylon Jennings in the Mouth: Here’s Why

by Clayton Edwards

There’s no denying that George Jones was a legend. He performed some of the greatest country songs ever recorded. Truly, the genre wouldn’t be the same without Possum’s influence. However, he wasn’t always the easiest to deal with. Most of his difficulties came from his out-of-control drinking habit in his early career.

There are several stories about George Jones’ booze-soaked adventures. Almost everyone has heard about the time that he rode a lawnmower to the liquor store. Most fans know about his “No-Show Jones” era. In fact, George jones wrote a song about it. However, you may not know about the time that a roaring-drunk Possum punched Waylon Jennings in the mouth. It’s a crazy story that sheds more light on the country icon’s dark days. At the same time, it showcases the relationship between two of the greatest country singers the world has ever seen.

Before we get into the story, it’s important to note that Waylon and George were friends. When this story took place, they were both dealing with some serious substance abuse issues. They remained friends until the end. This was, however, a rough night for both of them.

George Jones Was Not on His Best Behavior

According to Waylon Jennings’ autobiography, it all started when George Jones showed up at Waylon’s place hammered. Ol’ Possum was belligerent. He came in, flailing around in the living room, knocking stuff over. Basically, being the worst kind of drunk. Then, he started yelling at Jessi Colter’s mother.

Waylon did all he could to control George Jones. After some time and some coaxing, Waylon got him to sit down on the couch and calm down. It looked like Jones was about ready to fall asleep, so Waylon decided to help his friend get some rest. He went to the kitchen and poured George a tall glass of whiskey. He figured that one last drink would put Possum over the edge and he would pass out. Waylon was half right. The booze put him over the edge, but it also gave him a second wind.

That second wind quickly became a destructive tornado. George Jones started tearing up Waylon Jennings’ house. He was throwing things, knocking stuff over, and generally being a nuisance. When Waylon came into the room to calm him down, Jones hurled a framed photo at him. Luckily it missed. Waylon said if it would have connected it would have knocked him out, “cold for a week.” The fight was on.

Waylon Jennings Attempts to Tame a Wild Possum

Jennings tried to calm George Jones down. Jones rewarded his attempt with a swift kick to the crotch. Fighting through the pain, with the help of cocaine, Waylon wrestled the out-of-control George to the ground and sat on him. At this point, true to his name, George played possum. He acted like he was choking, so Waylon let him go and asked if he was alright. This is when Possum came alive again and punched Waylon Jennings in the mouth.

Hear Otis Gibbs read the story from Waylon’s autobiography.

At this point in the story, Waylon admits that he didn’t know how much longer he could fight with George Jones. Jennings was high on cocaine. He was coming down from the short-lived stimulant and was losing strength. At the same time, Jones seemed to be getting stronger.

Waylon’s guitar player was there that night. He stepped in to help hold Possum down. He held Jones’ feet but the country icon kicked out of the hold. For his troubles, the guitarist got a broken thumb.

Finally, Waylon Jennings didn’t have a choice. He knew he had to tie up his buddy and force him to calm down. So, that’s what he did. He tied up George Jones and laid him out on the couch. According to the book, Jennings felt very bad about the night’s events. About this, he said, “I had never felt so bad in my life. I was thinking, ‘Here’s the greatest country singer that ever lived and I’m tying his a– up.’”

At this point, Jennings told George Jones to just be still. He was going to call his manager to come to pick him up and take him home. After a heated verbal exchange, Possum finally passed out and someone came to take him home.

In 1999, George Jones finally got sober. With his wife’s patience and support, he was able to get his life together. He lived mostly sober until he died in 2013.