“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”
It is a country ballad song written by American songwriter Bobby Russell. It was first performed by American pop music artist Vicki Lawrence in the year 1972. His version of the song was released in November 1972 as a single from his album, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia. After the song’s release, it gained positive comments from music critics and the song entered the country charts.
Although Bobby Russell wrote and composed the song, he did not bother record it because he did not like it. According to Lawrence, Russell’s wife, she believed that the song was destined to be successful and recorded the song herself. However, publishers and record labels do not know how to pitch the song. So, Lawrence went to the studio and recorded it with the back instrument of L.A. session musicians from the Wrecking Crew. Her record was published by the label and released as a single.
Speaking of the song’s popularity, it has been recorded by various music artists, one of those is our very own Reba McEntire.
Reba McEntire’s Version
Reba McEntire‘s version of the song “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” was released in April 1992. Her version was included in her album, For My Broken Heart. The song was again a hit in 1991, and entered the country charts. It reached number 12 on the Hot Country songs.
About the Song
The song “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” is about the narrator’s brother who loves drinking alcohol. One day, before going home to his wife, he stopped by a bar to drink. He talked to a stranger named Andy Wolloe who told him that while he was out, his wife was having an affair with someone. Thus, Andy admitted that he himself had been with her. So, he rushed home.
His wife had left town. The man took his father’s gun and quickly drove to Andy’s house. When he arrived, he noticed a set of footprints leading to the house and when he entered, he was shocked. He saw Andy dead on the floor from a gunshot. To get attention from their neighbors so he could ask for help, he fired a shot in the air.
Unfortunately, he was arrested for Andy’s murder. In the court, he was declared guilty and sentenced to death by hanging.
The story wraps up as the narrator reveals herself as the little sister. The footprints seen was from her, but she is not the only one who killed Andy. She was then with her brother’s wife as well. In the chorus of the song, it shows that the little sister blamed the local criminal justice system about her brother’s death.