On This Day: George Jones Releases ‘What Am I Worth’ in 1956

by Kayla Zadel
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George Jones released one of his first hits 65 years ago today. It was one of the fourteen songs on Jones’ debut album with Starday Records.

George Jones, also known as the Possum co-wrote the song with Darrel Edwards. They also collaborated on his first national chart hit “Why Baby Why.” “What Am I Worth” is on Jones’ Grand Ole Opry’s New Star album. The song peaked at No. 7 on the Country Singles Chart.

Years later, Jones recut the song again during his time with Musicor record label.

George Jones Meets Darrel Edwards

According to Bob Allen’s book “George Jones: The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend,” the aspiring songwriter grew up across the road from Jones near Saratoga, Texas. Edwards joined the Coast Guard when he came of age, but after his time there, he tracked down Jones. He found him performing in Beaumont and showed him several poems that he had written in hopes that he could partner with the possum to write songs.

Jones liked what he saw and the two co-wrote some of Jones’ biggest early hits. Another one of those includes his second No. 1 hit, “Tender Years.”

Meaning of ‘What Am I Worth’

The 1956 song has a simple meaning. That meaning is about love’s worth. 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.

One verse even talks about if he were to be president or get put in the hall of fame. However, it wouldn’t mean anything because he doesn’t have the support of the one he loves.

Outsider.com