2021 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Chism, Chassaniol, Michel, Boyd, Fillingane, Blackwell, Younger, Whaley, Hill, England, McLendon, Barrett, Tate, Suber, McMahan, Turner-Ford, Barnett, Branning, Jackson (11th), Jackson (32nd), Simmons (13th), Sparks
A RESOLUTION EXTENDING THE DEEPEST SYMPATHY OF THE MISSISSIPPI SENATE TO THE SURVIVING FAMILY OF JIM WEATHERLY, PONTOTOC NATIVE AND HALL OF FAME SONGWRITER WHO LED THE OLE MISS REBELS FOOTBALL TEAM TO THE 1962 CONSENSUS NATIONAL TITLE, AND COMMENDING HIS CAREER.
WHEREAS, it is with sadness that we note the passing of a Mississippi legend. James Dexter (Jim) Weatherly, the Pontotoc native and former Ole Miss quarterback who became a celebrated songwriter with hits like "Midnight Train To Georgia," passed away on February 3, 2021; and
WHEREAS, in nearly 50 years as a songwriter in Los Angeles and Nashville, Weatherly composed songs that became pop and R&B classics, but also crossed over to country, gospel and jazz. He was enshrined into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014; and
WHEREAS, Jim Weatherly's biggest songwriting hit was "Midnight Train To Georgia" for Gladys Knight and the Pips. The 1973 recording reached No. 1 on both the pop and R&B charts and won a Grammy Award. "Midnight Train To Georgia" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2001, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America selected the 365 Songs of the Century (1900-2000), with "Midnight Train To Georgia" making the list at No. 29. The song also made Rolling Stone magazine's top 500 songs of all time in 2003; and
WHEREAS, Weatherly's collaboration with Gladys Knight and the Pips resulted in more hits. "Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)" reached No. 1 on the pop and soul charts and won a Grammy while "The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me" was a No. 1 R&B and No. 2 pop hit. Those two songs also crossed over to the country charts. Ray Price scored a No. 1 with "You're The Best Thing," and Bob Luman had a top-five hit with "Neither One Of Us." Price went on to record 38 Weatherly songs; and
WHEREAS, Jim Weatherly, who moved to Nashville in the 1980s, continued his hit-making success with songs like "A Lady Like You," a No. 1 for Glen Campbell, and "Someone Else's Star," which topped the charts for Bryan White. Weatherly was a prolific writer whose songs were recorded by a diverse group of artists, including Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Kenny Rogers, Etta James, Garth Brooks, Andy Williams, The Oak Ridge Boys, Hall and Oats, Lynn Anderson and many others; and
WHEREAS, in addition to being a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Weatherly was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame in 2011. He received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Music from the State of Mississippi in 2014. He also had his own recording career, releasing seven albums. His 1974 single, "The Need To Be," reached No. 11 on the pop charts and No. 6 on the adult contemporary charts. He also had a top-10 country single, "I Still Love You," in 1975; and
WHEREAS, Jim Weatherly began writing songs while growing up in Pontotoc. He had his own bands in high school and college and played dates throughout the South until he moved to Los Angeles with his rock band, The Gordian Knot, in 1966. After meeting Larry Gordon, who became his Publisher and Manager, Weatherly's songwriting began to flourish; and
WHEREAS, Weatherly is one of the musical artists from Pontotoc County honored on a Mississippi Blues Trail marker in his hometown; and
WHEREAS, on the football field, Jim Weatherly was an all-star quarterback for Pontotoc High School. At Ole Miss, he won All-Southeastern Conference and honorable mention All-American honors in 1964. Jim was a backup on the only unbeaten and untied team in Ole Miss history, which won a share of the 1962 National Championship. The 1962 and 1963 Rebel Teams also won SEC Championships. Weatherly was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame in 2011; and
WHEREAS, Jim Weatherly is survived by his wife, Cynthia; daughter, Brighton; and son, Zack; and
WHEREAS, we pay tribute and cherish fondly the memory of a legendary Mississippi songwriter who has brought honor to our state and will be missed:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby extend the deepest sympathy of the Mississippi Senate to the surviving family of Jim Weatherly, Pontotoc native and Hall of Fame Songwriter who led the Ole Miss Rebels Football Team to the 1962 Consensus National Title, and commend his career.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to the surviving family of Jim Weatherly, forwarded to the Grammy and Songwriters Hall of Fame and the University of Mississippi Athletic Department, and made available to the Capitol Press Corps.