1974 Jim Weatherly – The Need To Be
Jim Weatherly was an All-American quarterback at the University of Mississippi. He and other students at the school formed the group The Gordian Knot. They accompanied Nancy Sinatra on a USO tour of Vietnam and recorded a single album. The band appeared as themselves and performed one of their songs in the 1968 film Young Runaways.
The group split up and Jim moved to Nashville to pursue a solo career as a singer/songwriter. He recorded songs for several labels without finding any hits. One song he wrote and recorded was Midnight Plane To Houston. Singer Cissy Houston’s producer Sonny Limbo wanted her to record the song and asked if she could change the title to Midnight Train To Georgia. Cissy recorded the song in 1972, but it was not a big hit.
His first big success came when Gladys Knight & the Pips recorded his composition Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye). The single went to #2 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B chart and won a Grammy award.
The next year, Ray Price recorded the single You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, which topped the US Country chart. Gladys Knight also had a hit with the song a few years later.
Gladys Knight & the Pips moved from Motown to Buddah Records and Jim wrote five songs on their first album for the label. They covered Midnight Train To Georgia and had the biggest hit of their career, topping both the pop and R&B charts in 1974. Buddah Records then signed Jim to a recording contract.
One song that Jim recorded for Buddah was The Need To Be. The single reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart in late 1974, his last top forty single on either chart.
Jim recorded songs that were more Country after that, yielding one top ten Country single and three more top forty Country singles by 1980.
Ray Price recorded 37 more songs Jim wrote and Gladys Knight & the Pips recorded at least a dozen of his songs. Other artists who have recorded songs written by Jim include Lynn Anderson, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Kenny Chesney, Neil Diamond, Brenda Lee, Bob Luman, Kenny Rogers, and our old friends Batdorf & Rodney.
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