Jim Weatherly — Songwriter Behind Gladys Knight's 'Midnight Train to Georgia' — Dies at 77

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Tomás Mier
·2 min read
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Ava Gandy/WireImage Jim Weatherly

Jim Weatherly has died. He was 77.

On Thursday, Charlie Monk, music publisher and family friend of the country singer-songwriter, confirmed to The Tennessean that Weatherly died on Wednesday. A cause of death wasn't given.

"When I inducted Jim into the Songwriters Hall of Fame I said, 'This may be the most honorable human being I've ever known,'" Monk, the "mayor of Music Row," told the newspaper. "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 added. "He probably was one of the top five most talented songwriters to ever drop into this town."

Gary Gershoff/Getty Jim Weatherly

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A stellar quarterback at Ole Miss during his early years, Weatherly became best known for penning some of Gladys Knight & the Pips' best hits.

The Mississippi-born country crooner left college to pursue a music career in Los Angeles, where he wrote some of Knight's hits, such as "Midnight Train to Georgia," "You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" and "Neither One of Us Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye."

Although the song was originally penned as "Midnight Plane to Houston" and later changed by Knight, the song went on to win a Grammy in 1973.

University of Mississippi/Collegiate Images via Getty Jim Weatherly as a football player

Weatherly was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. His biggest track as a singer was "I'll Still Love You," followed by "All That Keeps Me Going" two years later. He released a total of 12 albums.

"Seems as though we are losing all the great ones. My heart goes out to the loss of our Jim Weatherly!" tweeted Steve Azar. "What a Mississippi and worldly legend. Blessings to [him] and his family."

Weatherly's songs were recorded by stars such as Kenny Chesney, Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers and Garth Brooks, according to the Tennessean.