Country Throwback: Young George Jones Performs on TV in 1970 for Ryman Show

by Emily Morgan
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Seeing performances of the late George Jones are like cookies: you always want more. Over the years, anecdotes about Jones have been hilarious and heartbreaking, but they live on as a part of country music history. 

For Jones and many other country artists, no other venue is more holy than the Ryman Auditorium. Countless country legends have graced the revered stage throughout the years, including The Possum himself. 

Throughout his long-winded career, Jones played countless shows at the Ryman Auditorium. Lucky for fans, there’s even vintage footage of him performing at the sacred site during his early career. 

Even though it’s difficult to find footage of performances from early country stars playing the Ryman, finding one is like hitting a country music goldmine. When a full-color video of Jones singing one of his biggest hits at the Ryman was released, fans were thrilled. 

George Jones Plays Classic Hit at Iconic Ryman Auditorium

The 1970 video shows a barely 40-years-old George Jones performing his classic heartbreak song, “The Race is On.” At that point, Jones had already been in the music business for 17 years and made numerous appearances on the country music charts. “The Race is On” was one of those chart-topping hits. It reached the No. 3 position on the “Billboard Country” chart in 1964.

Country music historians and fans have classified that quintessential Jone’s tune as timeless. Even though the late Jones recorded it decades ago, artists of all genres have laid down their version of the song. 

Since it’s such a beloved song in the country music world, the old school footage of his 1970 performance of “The Race Is On” at the Ryman is the cherry on top. Witnessing the event is like peering into a time capsule and seeing a legendary country music moment take place. 

Despite the shaky video, the video’s color is bright and vibrant— much like the life led by the late country music legend. 

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