Song Lyric Sunday | “The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia” – Vicki Lawrence

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “lights.”

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Most of today’s music fans are familiar with the 1991 version of The Nights the Lights Went Out in Georgia recorded by Reba McIntyre. But the original was released in June of 1972 by Carol Burnett Show regular, Vicki Lawrence, and topped the Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart in early 1973.

On the final episode of the sixth season of the Carol Burnett Show, (March 24, 1973), Burnett surprised Lawrence by presenting her with an RIAA gold record for over a million copies sold. The song also scored number six on the Easy Listening chart,  and it peaked at number 36 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart.  It was number one for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, and was finally topped by Tony Orlando and Dawn’s Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree. Billboard ranked it as the No. 11 song for 1973.

Although Bobby Russell wrote both the lyrics and music for the story-form song, he was reluctant to record even a demonstration because he “didn’t like it.” According to Lawrence, who was married to Russell at the time, she believed it was destined to be successful and recorded the demo herself. The publishers and the record label did not quite know how to pitch the song, as it was not really a country or a pop song. The first thought was to offer the song to actress/singer Liza Minnelli, but eventually it was offered to singer Cher, but her then-husband and manager Sonny Bono reportedly refused it, as he was said to be concerned that the song might offend Cher’s southern fans.  Without a singer to record the song, Lawrence went into a studio and recorded it professionally herself, with the instrumental backing of L.A. session musicians from the Wrecking Crew,  then pressed the label to release it as a single.

The rest is history… just like Lawrence’s spot for having a number one hit!

The video isn’t the best quality, but the audio is on point! 😉

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection on Nesie’s Place.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia

by Vicki Lawrence

Written by Bobby Russell

He was on his way home from Candletop
Been two weeks gone and he’d thought he’d stop at Webb’s
And have him a drink before he went home to her

Andy Wolloe said hello
And he said, “Hi, what’s doing, Wo?”
Said, “Sit down, I got some bad news, it’s gonna hurt.”

He said, “I’m your best friend and you know that’s right
But your young bride ain’t home tonight
Since you been gone, she’s been seeing that Amos boy, Seth.”

Well, he got mad and he saw red
And Andy said, “Boy, don’t you lose your head
Cause to tell you the truth, I’ve been with her myself.”

That’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man
Well, don’t trust your soul to no backwoods southern lawyer
Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands

Well, Andy got scared and left the bar
Walking on home, cause he didn’t live far
See, Andy didn’t have many friends
And he just lost him one

Brother thought his wife musta left town
So he went home and finally found
The only thing Papa had left him and that was a gun

Then he went off to Andy’s house
Slippin’ through the backwoods, quiet as a mouse
Came upon some tracks too small for Andy to make
He looked through the screen at the back porch door
And he saw Andy lying on the floor
In a puddle of blood and he started to shake

Well, the Georgia patrol was making their rounds
So he fired a shot just to flag them down
And a big-bellied sheriff grabbed his gun
And said “Why’d you do it?”

Well, the judge said guilty in a make-believe trial
Slapped the sheriff on the back with a smile
Said, “Supper’s waitin’ at home and I gotta get to it.”

That’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man
Well, don’t trust your soul to no backwoods southern lawyer
Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands

Well, they hung my brother before I could say
The tracks he saw while on his way
To Andy’s house and back that night were mine
And his cheating wife had never left town
And that’s one body that’ll never be found
See, little sister don’t miss when she aims her gun

That’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia, whoa-oh
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man, uh-huh
Well, don’t trust your soul to no backwoods, southern lawyer
Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands

Oh, that’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia

 

 

Compiled from Genius Lyrics, YouTube, and Google.

7 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday | “The Night the Lights Went Out In Georgia” – Vicki Lawrence

  1. Yep, totally guilty of only knowing Reba’s cover of this, so thanks for sharing the original! I love this song, a story I’d love to read, yet don’t have to, because I already know how it ends lol I admit, I was a little skeptical that anyone could give it the kind of power Reba does, but I still got the same chill with Vicki’s deliverance. 😀

    Glad she recorded it, sad to think the world almost never knew this song!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always liked this song, and have only heard the way Vicki Lawrence sang it. I didn’t know it had a video. I thought it a bit strange for a song with this subject to have a beach party going on in the background, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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