Music

'Golden Ring': The Story Behind George Jones and Tammy Wynette's Classic Divorce Duet

Photo by Kirk West/Getty Images

George Jones and Tammy Wynette were, and always will be, a country music power couple. Even though the two had a rollercoaster relationship, they did land a few chart-topping hits on the Billboard charts. The first was "We're Gonna Hold On" in 1973, the second was "Golden Ring" in 1976, and the last was "Near You" in 1977.

"Golden Ring"

Bobby Braddock and Rafe Vanhoy penned this duet that follows a golden wedding ring through love, marriage and divorce before it ends up back at the pawnshop where it was first purchased. Apparently, Braddock was inspired by a film that traced the various lives that owned one handgun and applied the same idea to this song.

Jones and Wynette knew the song's story well; they divorced just fourteen months before the single's release in 1976 as the first single and title track to their duet album of the same name. The couple re-recorded the song for Jones' 1994 album The Bradley Barn Sessions.

'Golden Ring' Lyrics:

In a pawn shop in Chicago
On a sunny summer day
A couple gazes at the
Wedding rings there on display
She smiles and nods her head
As he says, "Honey, that's for you
It's not much, but it's the best that I can do

Golden ring
With one tiny little stone
Waiting there (waiting there)
For someone to take it home
By itself (by itself)
It's just a cold metallic thing
Only love can make a golden wedding ring

In a little wedding chapel
Later on that afternoon
An old upright piano
Plays that old familiar tune
Tears roll down her cheeks
And happy thoughts run through her head
As he whispers low, "With this ring I thee wed"

Golden ring
With one tiny little stone
Shining ring (shining ring)
Now, at last, it's found a home
By itself (by itself)
It's just a cold metallic thing
Only love can make a golden wedding ring

In a small two-room apartment
As they fight their final round
He says, "You won't admit it
But I know you're leavin' town."
She says, "One thing's for certain
I don't love you anymore."
And throws down the ring.
As she walks out the door

Golden ring
With one tiny little stone
Cast aside (cast aside)
Like the love that's dead and gone
By itself (by itself)
It's just a cold metallic thing
Only love can make a golden wedding ring

In a pawn shop in Chicago
On a sunny summer day
A couple gazes at the
Wedding rings there on display

Golden ring

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'Golden Ring': The Story Behind George Jones and Tammy Wynette's Classic Divorce Duet