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"Tender Years"
George Jones Tender Years Single.jpg
Single by George Jones
from the album Greatest Hits
B-side"Battle of Love"
ReleasedApril 1961
RecordedFebruary 8, 1961
Studio Bradley Film & Recording Nashville
Genre Country
Label Mercury
Songwriter(s) George Jones, Darrell Edwards
Producer(s) Shelby Singleton
George Jones singles chronology
"Family Bible"
"Tender Years"
" Did I Ever Tell You"

"Tender Years" is a song written by American country music artist George Jones and Darrell Edwards. It became Jones' second #1 country hit.


"Tender Years" spent seven non consecutive weeks at #1 and a total of 32 weeks on the country chart. [1] "Tender Years" also made it to the Hot 100, peaking at number 76. Like his previous singles "Family Bible" and " Window Up Above," the recording displayed a more mature, restrained vocal approach from the one that had established him on earlier honky tonk hits such as " Why Baby Why" and "White Lightning". In the liner notes to the 1994 Mercury compilation Cup of Loneliness: The Classic Mercury Years, country music historian Colin Escott argues that "Tender Years" "just about defined the territory he carved out as his own in the years ahead. 'Window Up Above,' ' Color of the Blues,' and 'Accidentally on Purpose' had all hinted at the same direction, but on 'Tender Years' the song, the production, and the performance came together in a statement of soon-to-be classic George Jones." Music journalist Rich Kienzle concurs, observing in his essay for The Essential George Jones: The Spirit of Country, "Here, his singing voice, which so far had been high and nasal, began to deepen. His restrained delivery and the smoother, ' Nashville Sound' production (complete with muted accompaniment and a vocal chorus) produced a smoother, but no less expressive George Jones." Years later Jones would perform the song with Faron Young and Marty Robbins during a segment on Robbins' television show (the video is available on YouTube).

The famous French singer Johnny Hallyday recorded the song during a Nashville session and afterward he recorded a French version Tes Tendres Années. This French rendition was used as a basis for the 1963 Dutch hit Spiegelbeeld written by Lodewijk Post and sung by Dutch singer Willeke Alberti.

Chart performance

Chart (1961) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot C&W Sides 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 [2] 76

Johnny Hallyday version (in French)

"Tes tendres années"
Single by Johnny Hallyday
from the album Les Bras en croix
B-side" Les Bras en croix"
Released1963 (1963) (France etc.)
Label Philips
Songwriter(s)Ralph Bernet, Darrell Edwards
Producer(s)Lee Hallyday
Johnny Hallyday singles chronology
" Elle est terrible"
"Tes tendres années"
" Les Bras en croix" / " Quitte-moi doucement" / "Quand un air vous possède" / " Quitte-moi doucement" / "Quand un air vous possède" / " Dis-moi oui"

The song was covered in French by Johnny Hallyday. His version (titled "Tes tendres années") was released in early 1963 and reached no. 1 in the Netherlands. In Wallonia (French Belgium) his single spent 28 weeks on the chart, peaking at number 2, in Flanders (Dutch Belgium) – 12 weeks peaking at number 9. [3]


Chart (1963) Peak
Belgium ( Ultratop 50 Flanders) [4] 2
Belgium ( Ultratop 50 Wallonia) [5] 9
Netherlands ( Single Top 100) [6] 1


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 180.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955-2012. Record Research. p. 443.
  3. ^ " - Johnny Hallyday - Tes tendres années". Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  4. ^ " Johnny Hallyday – Tes tendres années" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  5. ^ " Johnny Hallyday – Tes tendres années" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  6. ^ " Johnny Hallyday – Tes tendres années" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.