“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” was a hit for both the Vicki Lawrence and Reba McEntire in 1972 and 1992, respectively. It is a Southern Gothic song and a murder ballad that centers on a friend’s betrayal and a wife’s infidelity. Ingeniously penned by the great Bobby Russell, this song was originally offered to singer/actress Liza Minnelli, and then to the Goddess of Pop Cher. However, both singers declined the offer. Without any singer to record the song, Vicki Lawrence, Russell’s wife, took the song and recorded it professionally. Little did they know that it would later become a hit for Lawrence.
Lawrence’s original version of the song went on to top the Billboard Hot 100, as well as on the Canadian RPM Top Singles. In addition, it reached no. 6 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary, and no. 36 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. On the other hand, McEntire’s version peaked at no. 12 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs in 1992, and no. 7 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks.
This four-minute song starts with a narration of how the betrayal, infidelity, and murder began. Then the chorus of the song highlights the death of an innocent man… Here’s the chorus of the song:
That’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man
Well don’t trust your soul to no back woods Southern lawyer
‘Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands
The Fierce Duet of Reba and Vicki
The video clip starts with Vicki and Reba talking about how the song started and how it went to Reba. Vicki then tells the audience and Reba that “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” was the biggest hit of her career. Reba revealed that after recording her hit “Fancy“, Tony Brown, her producer, asked her to record it herself. To her surprise, the song also went on to be a hit in the 90’s.
The two queens then proceeded and sang Reba’s version. Vicki and Reba, without a doubt, are equally talented. With such strong voices, they smashed the song just right; hitting the notes right, and harmoniously singing the tune. Indeed, these two singers are great in their own right.
Watch the fierce duets of the two queens, Reba and Vicki, singing Vicki’s hit “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”:
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Reba McEntire, The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia, Vicki Lawrence
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