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James Weatherly, Midnight Train to Georgia songwriter, dies aged 77

Jim Weatherly performed at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards in New York in 2014.
2014 Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards
Jim Weatherly performed at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards in New York in 2014. 2014 Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards

The American singer-songwriter who wrote the hit Midnight Train to Georgia has died at the age of 77.

Singer-songwriter James Dexter Weatherly died at his home in Brentwood, Tennessee, on Wednesday morning.

He is remembered for his prolific music career with classics including Midnight Train to Georgia, (You’re The) Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me and Someone Else’s Star.

Born on March 17, 1943, in Pontotoc, Mississippi, he began writing songs as a teenager.

He later attended  the University of Mississippi where he became a quarterback and in 1962 his team Ole Miss won the national championship.

However, the star player decided to pursue a career in music over American football after graduating.

He wrote some of Gladys Knight and the Pips’ greatest hits, including Neither One of Us Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye and You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.

In 2003 Midnight Train to Georgia was named one of the top 500 songs of all time by Rolling Stones magazine.

He was also a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and ASCAP’s County Songwriter of the Year in 1974.

Many of his songs were used in popular television shows and movies over the years including Broadcast News, The Deer Hunter, Modern Family, Chicago Hope and Ally McBeal.

Musician Bryan White was among those to pay their respects to the singer-songwriter on social media.

His Facebook post stated: “Jim Weatherly was one of my dear friends of over 25 years. What a massive and long spanning career this man had. His work will be heard forever.

“I started writing songs with Jim just after Marty Gamblin signed me to Glen Campbell Music way back when. I’m so grateful to Marty for introducing me to such an extraordinarily talented human being.

“Most of all, a very kind and gracious human being. We wrote a lot of songs together and I sang a lot of demos for him. So many great memories rush back when we lose friends we love.”

Jim Weatherly is survived by his wife, Cynthia, daughter Brighton and son Zack.

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