“Midnight Train to Georgia” became the first #1 hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips. After years with Motown the move to Buddha Records was their catalyst to universal fame. The tune won the 1974 Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Not bad for what started out as a little Country ditty, composed quickly by Jim Weatherly, when his friend Lee Major’s girl friend (Farrah Fawcett) told him over the phone that she was packing and “leaving on the midnight plane to Houston (her home town).”
Cissy Houston recorded the song changing the plane to Houston to the train to Georgia. Her rendition was a little bit country and a little bit soul. This is the version that Gladys Knight heard and wanted to record. Of course she took it to the next level full of soul and emotion with the Pips iconic background making this the classic sing along.
Here is Mr. Weatherly’s original “Midnight Plane to Houston.”
This classic was still relevant in 2011 on American Idol (lol)
Miss Knight discusses just this post’s topic a few days ago on the Arsenio Hall Show.