Remember Barbara Mandrell And George Jones’ ‘I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool?’
In the early ’80s, Barbara Mandrell was the reigning Queen of Country Music. Mandrell dominated radio and television as the host of her own show on NBC and the recipient of Country Music’s highest honor, the CMA Entertainer of the Year award in both 1980 and 1981.
In 1981, Barbara Mandrell (pictured above at the 2009 CMA Awards) released what would become her signature song ‘I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.’ At the time, the nation was enjoying a Country Music craze spurred by the movie Urban Cowboy. The song encouraged ‘Country Bumpkins’ to stand up and be proud to be Country Music fans. Ironically, 30 plus years later, the song could still be an anthem for the current group of Country Music fans and singers, who are enjoying success in a format that is more popular and ‘cooler’ than ever.
George Jones joined in on the final verse of the song, taking the recording to a higher level stamped by Country Music royalty. Now, in 2013, Barbara Mandrell returns the favor as she prepares to come out of retirement to make an appearance at George Jones’ final Nashville concert. Mandrell retired in 1997 and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
Below is a clip of their performance from the 1981 CMA Awards. Although Jones appears to be intoxicated, as this was during the days of his addiction to drugs and alcohol, Mandrell is a class act that carries the performance for her friend and idol. It’s sweet to know that Mandrell will be joining Jones one more time together on stage, and you can bet, Jones will be sober this time!