He may have been known as the Possum, but on Billboard's country charts, George Jones was a king. Jones passed away this morning at 81.
Jones holds the record for the most entries on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart - 166 - from 1955's No. 4-peaking "Why Baby Why" through 2011's "Country Boy," on which he and Charlie Daniels received co-billing on the Aaron Lewis song (which has been certified Gold by the RIAA).
Eddy Arnold ranks second with 144 Hot Country Songs entries. (The survey dates to 1944 in its earliest form.)
Jones tallied 78 Hot Country Songs top 10s, the third-best total all-time, after Arnold's 92 and George Strait's 85.
Jones sent 13 titles to No. 1 on the survey, starting with 1959's "White Lightning," which reigned for five weeks. 1961's "Tender Years" is his longest-leading No. 1 (seven weeks), while 1962's classic "She Thinks I Still Care" led for six frames. Another of his signature songs, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," hit No. 1 in 1980.
Jones last led Hot Country Songs with "I Always Get Lucky With You" in 1983. He last reached the top 10 with 1990's No. 8-peaking "A Few Ole Country Boys," with Randy Travis.
Jones' career predated the launch of Billboard's Top Country Albums chart in 1964, although he still managed 97 entries from that year through last year. Thirty-two of those sets reached the top 10 and two climbed to No. 1: 1966's "I'm a People" and 1976's "Golden Ring," the latter a collaboration album with ex-wife and fellow late country legend Tammy Wynette.
Sources close to Jones estimate that he released an incredible total of approximately 200 albums in his career.