Songcraft: Conversations with Great Songwriters Podcast

Jim Weatherly


Ep. 75 - Jim Weatherly

Midnight Train to Georgia: The Multi-Genre Hall of Famer

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Songcraft heads to Jim Weatherly's Nashville home to get the scoop on why "Gomer Pyle" actor Jim Nabors is responsible for launching his professional songwriting career; the one and only time he wrote a song with a specific artist in mind, and the artist actually ended up recording it; how he helped Ray Price become "country's Frank Sinatra;"  which of his hit songs was inspired by a phone conversation with Farrah Fawcett; how "Midnight Plane to Houston" became "Midnight Train to Georgia;" why spotting a dent in a wall sparked an idea that became a #1 hit; and which of his songs he's surprised hasn't been covered very often.

After establishing himself as a college football star in Mississippi, Jim Weatherly moved to Los Angeles to pursue a music career. He eventually found success as a songwriter, and is best known for penning “Midnight Train to Georgia,” a #1 pop and R&B hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips that would go on to be named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and earn induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Gladys and her Pips recorded a dozen of Weatherly’s songs, including the Top 10 hits “Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye)”  “Where Peaceful Waters Flow,” “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” and “Love Finds Its Own Way.”

It was not uncommon for Jim to appear on both the pop and country charts simultaneously with different versions of the same song. Bob Luman scored a Top 10 country hit with “Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye)” while Ray Price hit the top of the country chart with his version of “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.” Price would record nearly 40 Jim Weatherly songs, including the Top 5 hits “Like Old Times Again” and “Roses and Love Songs.” Thanks, in part, to Ray Price’s success, Jim was named ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year in 1974.

Additional hits from the Weatherly songbook include Charley Pride’s #1 single “Where Do I Put Her Memory,” Ed Bruce’s Top 5 hit “You Turn Me On (Like a Radio),” Glen Campbell’s Top 5, “A Lady Like You,” and Bryan White’s #1 single “Someone Else’s Star.” Other artists who’ve recorded Jim’s songs include Eddy Arnold, Reba McEntire, Dean Martin, Vince Gill, Etta James, Neil Diamond, Bill Anderson, Kenny Rogers, Hall & Oates, The Temptations, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Peter Cetera, and Angie Stone.

As an artist, Jim earned a Top 10 pop hit with “Need to Be” and a Top 10 country hit with “I’ll Still Love You.” The Grammy nominee and Dove award winner was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014.  


        

Songcraft's Jim Weatherly Playlist: Spotify users can select the song you'd like to hear below, or simply start the player and enjoy a selection of highlights from Jim's catalog, followed by a selection of Jim's own versions of his songs. If you don't have a Spotify account, follow the prompts to sign up for free. Click this link to take you directly to the playlist in the Spotify web player.