“He Stopped Loving Her Today”: A Comparison

As I scrolled through Facebook the other day and just as my roommate was talking about auditioning for The Voice, I came across a video from NBC’s The Voice. I used to watch The Voice when it first aired, but due to a lack of time I stopped watching it. Anyway, sometimes a video will pop up on my newsfeed, and when that happens I check it out. They have to be a pretty good singer, right? Well, Cody Wickline certainly was. Cody sang the great George Jones classic “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, most likely trying to appeal to Blake. Donning a black cowboy hat and an acoustic guitar, it didn’t take long for one of the judges, Adam Levine, to turn around. However, eventually all judges turned their chairs after realizing how much talent Wickline has. Even though Christina, Pharell, and Adam made their plea for Wickline to join their team, he ultimately chose to stick with country and be a part of Team Blake.

After listening to Cody Wickline’s version of the hit song, I had to listen to the original. You can’t help but notice how similar Wickline’s sound is to the original. Wickline has a slightly smoother sound, in my opinion which could be just the audio quality, but there is something to be said about George Jones’s ability to have so many number one hits without the use of autotune technology. In both versions, you can definitely feel the emotion behind the lyrics; there is a sense that Wickline has a connection to the original song either through experience or just by listening to it as a kid. It is such a simple song that really focuses on the voice and lyrics rather than having heavy instrumentals. That is part of the reason this song was a good choice for Wickline to perform in the blind auditions. Country is a strength for Wickline, so it will be interesting to watch as the season progresses if and how he will adapt to various songs in different genres.

Just to bring in one more artist to compare, I also listened to Alan Jackson perform the song at the Grand Ole Opry in May 2013 to memorialize George Jones seeing as he had recently passed away. Alan Jackson definitely sticks to the classic sound and simple performance style of the song and performs it beautifully. Listening to all three versions, I came to the conclusion that unless you are just a bad singer you can’t really mess up this song. Its simple instrumentals, deep lyrics, and popularity in the country music genre makes it a great song to give tribute to the classic country subgenre and George Jones.

What is your favorite version of “He Stopped Living Her Today”? Do you watch The Voice? Do you think Cody Wickline will make it far in the show? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Filed under Classic Country, Movies and TV, Reviews, Song Analysis

3 Responses to “He Stopped Loving Her Today”: A Comparison

  1. I ran across a reference to “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (the original version) that called it “sticky” or something like that. I think the point the author was trying to make is that it’s not actually a very good song, but it’s a classic because of its timing. Jones had been around for over twenty years, suffered a high-profile divorce from Tammy Wynette, and been in rehab for drinking and probably other kinds of substance abuse, too. The song itself doesn’t sound all that “country,” but it came out in 1982 — the height of the countrypolitan era — so if people thought it was authentically country, it was only in comparison to “9 to 5” and everything else on the country radio then. Anyway, I guess what I am trying to say is that it takes more than “good” songwriting or “good” performance to turn a song into a classic. It has to have a good story, too, and land at the right moment in time.

  2. Samantha Godfrey

    As I listened to all three of these performances, I noticed something very similar: they all have the same type of voice. Sure there may be differences, but there are a lot of common aspects. They all had that twang and simplicity to their voices. You do not seem to hear that much twang in today’s country, or the simplicity for that fact. Today’s performances are built around huge light shows accompanied by fire and movement around the stage. All three of these performers did the exact same thing. They held their guitar and sang their guts out, granted Jackson and Wickline could have just been trying to emulate Jones. Overall, I think they Jackson and Wickline did George Jones proud. They captured the essence of Jones and made me feel as if they had a connection with Jones or the song.

  3. Shelby Conine

    Wow. I’m impressed. Cody Wickline did a really amazing job covering such a classic song. I think it’s a very risky thing for such a new artist to cover such a well known song because you run the risk of comparison– which can end negatively. However, I think Wickline and Alan Jackson both did the song justice, but what makes Wickline different is how new he is. There are few artists that can sing that smoothly that are up and coming. Alan Jackson is older and so country is in danger of losing that pure, twangy country sound. I think Cody will be very successful on The Voice, particularly with someone with as much country experience as Blake Shelton. He’ll be the perfect mentor to develop that voice and maybe even create a star. I’m definitely going to keep track of this country new comer and I congratulate him on a job well done, it’s not often that all four judges turn around.

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