NASHVILLE, Tenn. —
The funeral was broadcast live on cable music television channels CMT and GAC and — in a nod to simpler times when Jones was at his biggest — on all local television networks.
The Beaumont, Texas, native was in the midst of a farewell tour that was to have wrapped up with an all-star salute in November in Nashville when he died. He postponed two performances two weeks ago and entered the hospital with a fever and irregular blood pressure. He'd been ill off and on over the previous year.
Jones' pure, matchless baritone defined the sound of country music for a half century, and his death brought universal reaction from the music community and fans. Known for hits like "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes," ''White Lightning" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today," which Alan Jackson used to close the memorial, Jones had No. 1s in four decades from the 1950s to the 1980s and "Possum" remained a popular figure in Music City until his death.
"Brother George taught us how to sing with a broken heart," Gill said.
Paisley said even though Jones has passed on, his legacy is still there, ready to inspire. He urged young viewers who might be tuning in to check out Jones' music.
"You must be thinking, 'Boy, they're making a ruckus,'" Paisley said. "I would encourage you if you don't know him, go find him now. Go buy his records and see what all this ruckus is about because it's worth it."