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White Lightning (George Jones song): Wikis


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"White Lightning"
Single by George Jones
from the album White Lightning and Other Favorites
Released 1959
Genre Country
Length 2:48
Label Mercury Records
Writer(s) J. P. Richardson

"White Lightning" is a song written by the late rockabilly artist J. P. Richardson, best known by his stage name, The Big Bopper. The song was recorded by country music artist George Jones and later released as a single. On April 13, 1959, Jones' version became the first Number One single of his career. The song has since been covered by numerous artists.


According to Jones' 1997 autobiography, I Lived to Tell It All, the recording process of "White Lightning" was rather lengthy. Jones explained in the book that he showed up at the recording session under a massive influence of alcohol and it took him approximately 80 takes just to record his vocals to the record producer's satisfaction. In addition, the session player who was playing the upright bass on the record was said to have had severe blisters on his fingers from playing his bass 80 times. The bassist not only threatened to quit the session, but he also threatened to physically harm Jones for his actions caused by his drinking.

It is notable for the fact that these events happened at this recording session partly because the session itself occurred during an era in recorded music that required all instruments and vocals to be recorded simultaneously on a single mono track, before eventually being succeeded by multi-track recording and stereo mixing advances.


Jones' version of "White Lightning" was then released as a single, and reached Number One in April of 1959, two months after the songwriter, rockabilly artist J. P. Richardson, was killed in the infamous plane crash along with fellow rockabilly artists Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

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Preceded by
"When It's Springtime in Alaska (It's Forty Below)"
by Johnny Horton
Billboard Hot C&W Sides
number one single

April 13-May 11, 1959
Succeeded by
"The Battle of New Orleans"
by Johnny Horton


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