♫ Midnight Train To Georgia ♫

This song, written and first recorded by Jim Weatherly, was originally titled Midnight Plane to Houston.  Who knew?  I’ll let Mr. Weatherly tell you the story …

“The song actually came about after a phone call I had with Farrah Fawcett. Lee Majors was a friend of mine. We’d played in the Flag Football League together in L.A. He had just started dating Farrah. One day I called Lee and Farrah answered the phone. We were just talking and she said she was packing. She was gonna take the midnight plane to Houston to visit her folks. So, it just stayed with me. After I got off the phone, I sat down and wrote the song probably in about 30 to 45 minutes. Something like that. Didn’t take me long at all, ’cause I actually used Farrah and Lee as kind of like characters I guess. A girl that comes to L.A. to make it and doesn’t make it and leaves to go back home. The guy goes back with her. Pretty simple little story, but it felt real to me. It felt honest to me. I played it for them and they loved it. I cut it on my first album as ‘Midnight Plane To Houston.’ And then later on, maybe a year or six months later, a guy in Atlanta wanted to cut the song on Cissy Houston, Whitney’s mother. They called and said they would like a more R&B sounding title and asked if we would mind if they changed the title to ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ [so that “Houston” wouldn’t appear in both the title and artist name]. We said ‘change anything but the writer and publisher.’ So, he cut the song on Cissy Houston and it was a nice little cross between an R&B and country record. It got on the R&B charts. That’s the version that Gladys heard. Some of the background vocals you hear on Glady’s records were first on Cissy Houston’s record. It wasn’t as much, but just some of the feel of the background vocals. And of course Gladys’ record was more of a groove-oriented thing. It wasn’t as slow. It just became a monster record.”

Midnight Train To Georgia was not only a #1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B, but also a #10 on the UK Singles chart. It garnered the group the 1974 Grammy Award for “Best R&B Vocal Performance” and was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. It is considered Gladys Knight’s signature song.

The song was featured during a scene in the 1978 film The Deer Hunter, as well as a number of television programs.  Garry Trudeau even did a strip about it in his Doonesbury comic!doonesbury.png

And without further rambling from me … here is Gladys Knight and the Pips …

Midnight Train To Georgia
Gladys Knight

L.a. Proved too much for the man
(Too much for the man, he couldn’t make it)
So he’s leavin’ the life he’s come to know, ooh
(He said he’s goin’)
He said he’s goin’ back to find
(Goin’ back to find)
Ooh ooh ooh, what’s left of his world
The world he left behind
Not so long ago

He’s leavin’ (leavin’)
On that midnight train to Georgia
(Leavin’ on the midnight train)
Yeah, said he’s goin’ back
(Goin’ back to find)
To a simpler place in time
(Whenever he takes that ride) oh yes he is
(Guess who’s gonna be right by his side)

And I’ll be with him (I know you will)
On that midnight train to Georgia
(Leavin’ on the midnight train to Georgia)
I’d rather live in his world (live in his world)
Than live without him in mine
(Her world is his, his and hers alone)

He kept dreamin’ (dreamin’)
Ooh, that someday he’d be a star
(A superstar, but he didn’t get far)
But he sure found out the hard way
That dreams don’t always come true
(Dreams don’t always come true) oh no
(Uh uh) uh uh (no, uh uh)
So he pawned all his hopes (ooh ooh ooh)
And he even sold his old car (woo woo woo)
Bought a one way ticket back
To the life he once knew
Oh, yes, he did
He said he would

Oh, oh, he’s leavin’ (leavin’)
On that midnight train to Georgia
(Leavin’ on the midnight train)
Yeah, said he’s goin’ back to find
(Goin’ back to find)
Ooh, a simpler place in time
(Whenever he takes that ride) ooh
(Guess who’s gonna be right by his side)

And I’m gonna be with him (I know you will)
On that midnight train to Georgia
(Leavin’ on the midnight train to Georgia)
I’d rather live in his world (live in his world)
Than live without him in mine
(Her world is his, his and hers alone)

Oh, he’s leavin’ (leavin’)
On the midnight train to Georgia
(Leavin’ on the midnight train)
Yeah, ooh, y’all
Said he’s goin’ back to find
(Goin’ back to find)
Ooh, a simpler place in time
(Whenever he takes that ride) ooh
(Guess who’s gonna be right by his side)

And I’ve got to be with him (I know you will)
On that midnight train to Georgia
(Leavin’ on the midnight train to Georgia, ooh ooh)
I’d rather live in his world (live in his world)
Than live without him in mine
(Her world is his, his and hers alone)

gonna board
The midnight train to ride
For love (for love) gonna board (gonna board)
Gotta board the midnight train to go
For love (for love) gonna board (gonna board)
The midnight train to go

My world (for love), his world (gonna board)
Our world (the midnight train to go) now I’m his alone
My world (for love), his world (gonna board)
Our world (the midnight train to go) now I’m his alone
I’ve got to go (for love), I’ve got to go (gonna board)
I’ve got to go (the midnight train to go) hey
I’ve got to go (for love), I’ve got to go (gonna board)
(The midnight train to go)
My world (for love), his world (gonna board)
My man (the midnight train to go) his girl
I’ve got to go (for love), I’ve got to go (gonna board)
(The midnight train to go) I’ve got to go
My world (for love), his world (gonna board)
Our world

Songwriters: James D. Weatherly
Midnight Train To Georgia lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

9 thoughts on “♫ Midnight Train To Georgia ♫

  1. I loved this song by Gladys and the Pips. I think it’s good sense for some people to go back home near family and old friends. My mother said of one person that he was a small town guy and should have stayed in a small town. Thanks for sharing the song, Jill. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think I ever took in why he was leaving, but that doesn’t matter – songs about journeys are always poignant – especially if they are very early or leaving at midnight – with nobody to notice you are going.

    Liked by 2 people

    • My take is that he was leaving because he had come to Los Angeles to make it big, perhaps in Hollywood, or perhaps in the music scene, and hadn’t been successful. Happens to many … I had a friend who lived in LA for a time in the 90’s, had a bit role in a movie, did some behind the scenes work, but just couldn’t catch the ‘big break’ and he went back home … to Georgia, as it happens!

      Liked by 1 person

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