George Jones released the mournful ballad “Color of the Blues” 63 years ago today (Jan. 15, 2021). It is a song in which the legend’s familiar voice expresses the pain of heartache.
The lyrics paint a picture of true longing for a lost love. Everything he sees reminds him of the person he wants most but doesn’t have.
The lyrics are poetic with the color blue being used as a symbol throughout the song. “Bluebird sittin’ in the tree / Seems to sympathize with me / For he’s not singing like he used to do,” Jones sings. “The pretty waters in the sea / Feel as cold as you left me / Yes, blue must be the color of the blues.”
George Jones co-wrote “Color of the Blues” with Lawton Williams while at Starday-Mercury. Jones reportedly wrote the melody while Williams handled the lyrics. The song was one of Jones’ earliest hits, reaching No. 7 on the Country Singles Chart.
Jones would later recut “Color of the Blues” for United Artists and Musicor. The song has appeared on several of his greatest hits albums over the years.
As in so many of his ballads, the Possum’s voice makes “Color of the Blues” sound like a real tragedy. Listen to “Color of the Blues” below:
“Color of the Blues” has been covered many times since its release 63 years ago. Artists who have covered the song include Loretta Lynn, Elvis Costello, and Patty Loveless. In 2016, John Prine and Susan Tedeschi collaborated on the track, according to Rolling Stone. A music video was also made of their cover. You can watch it here.
George Jones Releases ‘What Am I Worth’ During January 1956
January was a busy month for George Jones during his career. On Jan. 14, 1956, he released “What Am I Worth.” The song turned out to be one of his earliest hits. The song was one of 14 on his debut album with Starday Records. It made it all the way to No. 7 on the Country Singles Chart.
In addition to the original cut for Starday, Jones also recorded a version of the song while he was with the Musicor record label.
Jones co-wrote “What Am I Worth” with Darrel Edwards. The two would have other hits including “Why Baby Why” and “Tender Years.”
Like “Color of the Blues,” “What Am I Worth” is also about love and how it can cause you pain. In “What Am I Worth,” an unrequited love leaves the song’s narrator questioning what his value is.
The narrator in the song sings about his love for a certain someone, but they don’t seem to want it. That leaves him questioning what his worth or purpose on earth is. “What am I worth here on earth / Darling, If I can’t have you? / I just can’t find no peace of mind / With anything that I do,” the chorus reads.
Listen to “What Am I Worth” below:
You can read more about George Jones here.