As thousand of fans packed Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House for a star-studded tribute to George Jones on Thursday, The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards issued his own remembrance of the country icon.
"I cannot express the emptiness I feel,” the guitarist said in a statement. "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."
Richards went on to point out that even Frank Sinatra considered Jones the second-best singer ever, behind only "Ol' Blue Eyes" himself.
Keith and George first recorded together for Jones' The Bradley Barn Sessions in 1994, and remained friends ever since.
"I truly loved 'the possum,'" Richards said. "He was a crazy as me, and just as free… and, oh boy, could he hang."
Last week, The Tennessean published a letter Richards had written to Jones apparently confirming that the Rolling Stones legend had agreed to take part in the sold-out, star-studded farewell concert for George that had been scheduled for November 22 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
"Thank you so much for asking me to your gig. It's a real honor for me," wrote Keith. "I'll be there by hook or by crook."
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