keith richards george jones letter Keith Richards on George Jones: 'I truly loved 'the possum' ... oh boy, could he hang'Country legend George Jones was laid to rest Thursday (May 2) in a service at the Grand Ole Opry that featured a Hall of Fame roster of country music stars performing. But country musicians aren’t the only ones mourning the loss of Jones.

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards says in a statement:

George Jones has left us. We have lost one of the most individual singers of all time. I cannot express the emptiness I feel.

George was as country as it can get, but he was beyond any bag you want to put him in. He was pure American music without ever waving a flag – you can hear a million imitations on the radio every day – but there was, and ever will be, only one George Jones.

He possessed the most touching voice, the most expressive ways of projecting that beautiful instrument of anyone I can call to mind. You heard his heart in every note he sang. Sinatra called him the second best singer ever. (The number one obviously being Frank!). I would contest that.

I truly loved ‘the possum.’ He was a crazy as me, and just as free… and, oh boy, could he hang.

Richards references Jones nickname, “the possum” — that’s been his nickname for a long time, referencing the pointed nose and facial features that give Jones a possum-like resemblance.