Began performing in a radio-station band in the late '40s. Had his first Top Five hit in 1955 with "Why, Baby, Why." Was encouraged to cut some rockabilly songs during the rock-and-roll craze of the late '50s. He reluctantly agreed, but only if released under the name Thumper Jones. The songs failed to make the pop charts. First No. 1 song was "White Lightning," which was written by J.P. Richardson (also known as the Big Bopper) and hit the top of the charts two months after Richardson died. Had a well-documented struggle with alcoholism: he was nicknamed "No Show Jones" in the '70s for failing to appear at gigs, and he once rode his tractor to a bar when his wife hid his car keys. In the '70s, scored three No. 1 hits with then-wife Tammy Wynette, including "Gold Ring." Was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. In 1996, published his autobiography, I Lived to Tell It All. Lent his name to a variety of products, including breakfast sausage, steak sauce and dog food. Had more than 150 singles on Billboard's country chart.