Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’

The Midnight Train To Georgia Has Left The Station

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 6, 2021

The Number 1 smash hit popularized by Atlanta, Georgia-based family band of Gladys Knight and the Pips in October 1973 was the work of a native Mississippian from Pontotoc named Jim Weatherly.

His family reported that Jim died recently at his residence in Brentwood, Tennessee, a tony suburb of Nashville, of natural causes, aged 77.

Weatherly wrote two additional tunes that became hits for Gladys Knight and the Pips: “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” and “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” – which was originally recorded by country singer Ray Price.

A star quarterback for the University of Mississippi, aka “Ole Miss,” in the 1960s, after graduation, Weatherly, who had already formed a band with some classmates, moved to Nashville where he hoped to find his fortune. Nashville, however, long known as a very cliquish town musically, rejected him. So he and his band moved to the Los Angeles area where he became a songwriter in that area’s then-hot music scene. It was a “training ground” for many musicians who later became immensely popular, super-star caliber artists, including Glen Campbell, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Beck, and many others who populated the Laurel Canyon area – a mountainous canyon region in LA’s Hollywood Hills West district, in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Although Laurel Canyon is a rocky, arid, and largely agriculturally inhospitable area, it was fertile ground for artists like Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, and Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, The Byrds, Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison, Buffalo Springfield, Love, Michelle and John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas, Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, J. D. Souther, Judee Sill, Carole King, the Eagles, Richie Furay (of Buffalo Springfield and Poco) and many, many more, almost too numerous to mention.

But, lesser known is the backstory of Jim Weatherly’s first hit song for Gladys Knight and the Pips.

After his college football days ended, Weatherly worked in Los Angeles as a songwriter.

During his off-time in LA he often played flag football with other creative types who had athletic backgrounds – among them, Lee Majors, who himself was a former college football player and was then starring in The Big Valley as Heath Barkley, alongside the lead and central character Victoria Barkley, played by renown actress Barbara Stanwyck. The Big Valley was a unique western television serial whose central character was a woman (Stanwyck), who had taken Heath as her own, though he was the illegitimate son of her character’s late husband Thomas Barkley, following his death.

Jim Weatherly was inducted to the Songwriters Hall of Fame at their 45th Annual Induction and Awards ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Theater on June 12, 2014 in New York City.

The Big Valley was Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News, End Of The Road | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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