‘Golden Ring’ by George Jones and Tammy Wynette: Story Behind the Song

by Keeli Parkey

George Jones and Tammy Wynette are one of the most popular duos in the history of country music. Their hit songs and private relationship have intrigued fans for decades.

One of the duo’s most popular songs, “Golden Ring,” mirrors their real-life love affair, marriage, and divorce. Jones and Wynette married on Feb. 16, 1969. In 1970, their daughter, Tamala Georgette was born. What their marriage did for the singers was weave their careers together. Their solo acts soon became a duo.

This was a successful move for both of them and they even went by “Mr. and Mrs. Country Music.” Unfortunately, they were not happy as a couple in their personal lives. They divorced in March 1975. However, their divorce didn’t stop them from recording together. “Golden Ring” was one of the songs George Jones and Tammy Wynette recorded after their divorce.

George Jones and Tammy Wynette Have Hit with ‘Golden Ring’

According to SongFacts.com, “Golden Ring” was written by Bobby Braddock and Rafe Vanhoy. The song tells a full story in a short time. The song follows the journey of a golden wedding ring in the life of a couple who falls in love, gets married, and later divorces. After the divorce, the ring is returned to the pawn show where it was purchased. Braddock reportedly found inspiration for the song after watching a story about a handgun and how it played a part in the lives of those who owned it.

The song expresses the hope of love and a new marriage. It also expresses the tragic dissolution of the same. Both are experiences Jones and Wynette shared as a couple.

“In a small two room apartment / As they fought their final round / He says, ‘You won’t admit it / But I know you’re leavin’ town’,” the lyrics say. “She says, ‘One thing’s for certain / I don’t love you anymore’ / And throws down the ring / As she walks out the door.”

George Jones and Tammy Wynette released “Golden Ring” in May 1976. Jones and Wynette had been divorced for 14 months when they released the song, according to CountryThangDaily.com. Interestingly, this didn’t keep fans from enjoying the song. The duet made it all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart.

Despite the success of “Golden Ring,” Jones wasn’t happy to work with his ex-wife.

“It brought back too many unpleasant memories, and when some fans saw us together, they got it in their heads that we were going to get back together romantically,” he said in his memoir.

You can watch George Jones and Tammy Wynette sing “Golden Ring” below.

Watch More from the Possum and the First Lady of Country Music

Want to see more from George Jones and Tammy Wynette? Watch them reunite in 1995 and perform “We Loved It Away” in 1974.

In addition to the No. 1 hit with “Golden Ring,” Jomes and Wynette also had No. 1 hits with “We’re Gonna Hold On” in 1973 and “Near You” in 1977, according to SongFacts.com.

H/T: Biography.com.