In 1973, Gladys Knight & the Pips released “Midnight Train to Georgia” and it instantly became a chart-topping hit that helped the group earn a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus.
While Knight made the song her own and turned it into one of the most recognizable tunes, its origins are far more interesting than many of us know.
The hit song was written by singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly in 1971 under the title “Midnight Plane To Houston.”
Weatherly, who was also a former football quarterback, said he wrote the tune as “kind of a country song.”
“Then we sent the song to a guy named Sonny Limbo in Atlanta and he wanted to cut it with Cissy Houston… he asked if I minded if he changed the title to “Midnight Train to Georgia,” Weatherly explained. “And I said, ‘I don’t mind. Just don’t change the rest of the song.'”
Believe it or not, that’s not even the most mind-blowing part of the story of how the song came to be. Weatherly’s song was actually inspired by one of his friends and their girlfriend at the time, who happened to be one of Hollywood’s most popular leading ladies.