George Jones celebrated his 80th birthday with a throng of well-wishers Tuesday evening (Sept. 13) before a performance at the Grand Ole Opry. The Country Music Hall of Fame member was born Sept. 12, 1931, in Saratoga, Texas. Travis TrittJason Michael Carroll and Eddy Raven were among the artists joining Jones and his wife, Nancy, during the party at Rippy’s in downtown Nashville. Musical tributes were performed at the Opry by Alan JacksonLee Ann WomackJamey Johnsonthe Oak Ridge Boys and others. At the party, Jones acknowledged he never thought he’d be around for his 80th birthday party. “If you’d have told me I’d have ever been this age, I wouldn’t have believed you at all,” he told CMT Insider. “But I woke up one morning and I looked in the mirror and I said, ’My God, what happened?’ (laughs) But I was very happy. It’s like that saying: When you go to bed and wake up above ground, it’s a great day.” He also isn’t bothered by stories and songs that refer to his colorful past. Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem,” in particular, includes a reference to “swerving like George Jones.” He laughed and said, “At 80, you don’t worry about nothing like that. Like I said a while ago, if they’re still talking about you — as long as they do that — you’re still alive, I guess.”

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