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Country singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly dead at 77

Ava Gandy/WireImage

Country singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly has died. Music publisher and friend of Weatherly Charlie Monk confirmed the news to The Tennessean earlier this week.

Monk, "the Mayor of Music Row," looked back on Weatherly's induction into the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame saying, “When I inducted Jim into the Songwriters Hall of Fame I said, ‘This may be the most honorable human being I’ve ever known,'” he shared. “He never had a cigarette in his mouth, he never had a taste of alcohol, he didn’t chew (tobacco), he didn’t cuss. The only cuss word I ever heard him use was ‘Foot! Charlie.’ He probably was one of the top five most talented songwriters to ever drop into this town.”

Weatherly is well known for penning the Grammy-winning Gladys Knight and the Pips classic “Midnight Train to Georgia”. Originally titled "Midnight Plane to Houston," the song was inspired by Weatherly's friend, actress Farrah Fawcett, telling him that she was taking a "midnight plane to Houston." Cissy Houston, soul singer and mother of icon Whitney Houston, covered the song, changing the lyrics to "midnight train to Georgia." Gladys Knight and the Pips would later record the best-known version of the song, leading to a Grammy award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus in 1973.

He is also responsible for their hits “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” and “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”

No cause of death has been confirmed. Weatherly was 77.

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org