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Johnny Cash and George Jones Share an Eerie Anniversary

Also: Their top duets.

George Jones and Johnny Cash duet onstage together in the August 16, 1969 episode of The Johnny Cash Show.

Johnny Cash and George Jones were dear friends, but the country legends’ bond transcends the physical world. In what surely must be one of country music’s great coincidences, Johnny Cash died on George Jones’s 72nd birthday, 10 years ago today on Sept. 12, 2003.

As some of Johnny’s family members, including his brother Tommy, host a candlelight vigil this evening at the Hendersonville, Tenn., cemetery where the Man in Black is buried, we look back at some of Johnny and George’s greatest collaborations. While Johnny didn’t partner up with the Possum as regularly as he did with running buddies Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson, the few songs the two did sing together are testament to both their creative and personal relationship.

In the personal barbershop George had built in his Franklin, Tenn., estate hangs a photo of him kissing Johnny on the cheek. Johnny signed it with his nickname for George: “Lil’ Pal.”

“I Got Stripes” & “I Still Miss Someone”

Johnny and George team up for a one-two punch from Johnny’s 1979 Silver album. These duets on Johnny’s defiant prison anthem and his early heartbreaker were originally left off the album. Fortunately, they surfaced in 2002 on a reissue of Silver. Listening to George name-check his pal when he sings On a Thursday, John, I begged them not to knock me down again on “I Got Stripes” is instant goose bumps.

“White Lightning”

The Possum appeared on The Johnny Cash Show and the guys played an abbreviated, but no less thrilling, version of “White Lightning” before John ceded the stage to George, who sang “She Thinks I Still Care” solo.

“I’ll Say It’s True”

Also from Johnny’s Silver, this shuffling duet, with only harmony vocals from George, made the cut and appeared on the album’s first release.

“Big River”

Johnny may have not been there physically for this performance at the November 2003 memorial concert in his honor at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, but he was no doubt smiling as George joined Willie and Kris for the Cash classic.


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