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"The Race Is On"
Single by George Jones
from the album I Get Lonely in a Hurry and The Race Is On
B-side"She's Lonesome Again"
ReleasedSeptember 26, 1964
Genre Country
Label United Artists
Songwriter(s)Don Rollins
Producer(s) Pappy Daily
George Jones singles chronology
"Where Does a Little Tear Come From"
"The Race Is On"
"Least of All"
"The Race Is On"
Single by Jack Jones
B-side"I Can't Believe I'm Losing You"
Genre Easy listening
Label Kapp 651
Songwriter(s)Don Rollins
Producer(s) Michael Kapp
Jack Jones singles chronology
" Dear Heart"
"The Race Is On"
"Seein' the Right Love Go Wrong"
"The Race Is On"
Single by Dave Edmunds
from the album Twangin...
B-side"Singin' the Blues"
Genre Rock
Label Swan Song
Songwriter(s)Don Rollins
Producer(s)Dave Edmunds
Dave Edmunds singles chronology
"Almost Saturday Night"
"The Race Is On"
" Slipping Away"
"The Race Is On"
Single by Sawyer Brown
from the album The Boys Are Back
ReleasedSeptember 2, 1989
Genre Country, rock, pop, country rock
Label Capitol/ Curb
Songwriter(s)Don Rollins
Producer(s)Mark Miller
Randy Scruggs
Sawyer Brown singles chronology
"Old Pair of Shoes"
"The Race Is On"
" Did It for Love"

"The Race Is On" is a song written by Don Rollins [1] (not to be confused with the Don Rollins who co-wrote " It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" for Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett) and made a hit on the country music charts by George Jones and on the pop and easy listening charts by the unrelated Jack Jones. George's version was the first single released from his 1965 album of the same name. Released as a single in September 1964, it peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and at number 96 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1965. Jack's version topped Billboard's Easy Listening chart and reached number 15 on the Hot 100 the same year. The two recordings combined to reach number 12 on the Cashbox charts, which combined all covers of the same song in one listing and thus gave George Jones his only top-40 hit. The song uses thoroughbred horse racing as the metaphor for the singer's romantic relationships.

George Jones version

Jones had recorded "The Race Is On" in June 1963 but it was not released until September 1964 on the album I Get Lonely in a Hurry. The single reached #3 on the Billboard country chart. It also climbed to number 96 on the pop charts, a rarity for a Jones single, and United Artists capitalized on its success by making it the title of his next 1965 LP. According to the Bob Allen book George Jones: The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend, Don Rollins wrote the song one day after visiting Turf Paradise Race Course in Phoenix, Arizona. [2] Allen observes:

"George imbued 'The Race Is On' with a masterfully frenetic, on-the-edge vocal reading, full of whining emotional ambivalence and mock sadness. By gleefully bending and stretching the notes and singing, at times, slightly ahead of or behind the song's fast-clipped meter, he embellished it with a subtle sense of tension and release that perfectly complemented the rapid-fire cascading effect of the song's lyrics." [2]

In the 1994 retrospective Golden Hits, Jones recalled that Dewey Groom first played him the song in his office at the Longhorn Ballroom in Dallas. Jones was unimpressed with all the demo tapes Groom played for him and had started to leave when Groom played the Rollins song; Jones heard the opening line and exclaimed, "I'll take it!" The singer on that 1961 demo recording was Jimmie Gray, for whom Don Rollins wrote the song. Gray's version is one whole step higher than Jones' version, and prompted George to seek him out. The two became friends, Jimmie eventually roading in George's band, on bass and high harmony, and Jimmie was in the studio when George cut his hit. According to the liner notes for the 1994 Sony compilation The Essential George Jones: The Spirit of Country, the throbbing, echoey six-string bass guitar solo was played by Kelso Herston, who went on to write hit songs for Jones and produce one of his later MCA albums. Jones was extremely fond of the tune, recording it again with Musicor, Epic, and as a duet with Travis Tritt for The Bradley Barn Sessions in 1994. He almost always performed it live in concert as well.

Other Recordings

Chart positions

George Jones version

Chart (1964-1965) Peak
US Hot Country Songs ( Billboard) [8] 3
US Billboard Hot 100 [9] 96

Jack Jones version

Chart (1965) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 [10] 15
U.S. Billboard Middle-Road Singles 1

Dave Edmunds version

Chart (1981) Peak
UK Singles Chart 34

Sawyer Brown version

Chart (1989) Peak
US Hot Country Songs ( Billboard) [11] 5
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 3

See also


  1. ^ "Original versions of The Race Is On written by Don Rollins". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2016-05-04.
  2. ^ a b Allen, Bob (1996). George Jones: The Life and Times of a Honky Tonk Legend. St Martin's Press. pp. 149–150. ISBN  978-0312956981.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 331.
  4. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications), page 33.
  5. ^ "The Race Is On by George Jones Song Statistics". Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Lil G.L.'s Blue Bonanza - Charley Crockett - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Charley Crockett - Lil G.L.'s Blue Bonanza". Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  8. ^ "George Jones Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "George Jones Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Jack Jones Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "Sawyer Brown Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.

External links