Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: George Jones, “Still Doin’ Time”

“Still Doin’ Time”

George Jones

Written by Michael Heeney and John Moffat


#1 (1 week)

December 12, 1981

When we last saw George Jones in this feature, it was with his signature classic, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”  A slew of awards and renewed commercial success followed in the wake of that hit, and he was a regular presence on the radio with the next two singles from I Am What I Am: the top five “I’m Not Ready Yet” and the top ten “If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will.)”

Jones followed that seminal album with Still the Same Ole Me, and he returned to No. 1 with that album’s lead single.

“Still Doin’ Time” is a honky tonk classic, leaning in heavily to Jones’ reputation as a heavy drinker and creating a killer record about the price paid by someone who cheated one too many times. He’s the perfect vehicle for this lyric, and he gives a powerful performance as he sings:

Has it been a year since the last time I’ve seen herMy God, I could swear it was tenAnd the ocean of liquor I drank to forget herIs gonna kill me but I’ll drink ’til then
I’ve been livin’ in hell with a bar for a cellStill payin’ for my cheatin’ crimeOh, and I’ve got a long way to goStill doin’ time
I’m not usually one to toss out the line “now this is real country,” but come on. It doesn’t get much more country than drinking your sorrows away as you pay for the cheating that you shouldn’t have done in the first place.  I can only imagine how many men and women sat in a honky tonk themselves and wallowed in their misery as their kindred spirit Jones played on the jukebox. 
We’ll see Jones again with the a single from his next album.
“Still Doin’ Time” gets an A.  

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous: Alabama, “Love in the First Degree” |

Next: Steve Wariner, “All Roads Lead to You”


  1. How can’t the comments section be overflowing with praise and admiration for this single?

    This is a country classic. The genre’s stereotype is rooted in performances like this about this kind of subject matter.

    I am not smart enough to know if this song is either pathetic or bathetic, but I am fan enough to know that either way, it is brilliant.
    Jones sounds like he is in anguish while singing this one. His vocals are haunted and remorseful as he snarls and chews his way through the bleak lyrics.

    Jones is showing us why he is generally considered the greatest vocalist in country music history

    It doesn’t hurt that Billy Sherrill brilliantly knows exactly what to do with the production here.

    Good grief, this is great!

  2. I agree with Peter. This is a perfect record. It’s flawless from start to finish. That’s it is not even in my top 10 favorites from George Jones doesn’t make it any less great, it just means Jones has a deep well of classic hits that are greater.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.