1969 Tony Joe White – Polk Salad Annie
Tony Joe White grew up in Louisiana and began playing guitar and singing at school dances. After high school, he began playing in clubs in Louisiana and Texas. In 1967, he moved near his sister in Marietta, Georgia, and drove a dump truck for the city.
After hearing Ode To Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry, he felt that the song described much of the life he had grown up in. He became inspired to write about things he knew from growing up in Louisiana and living in Georgia. He signed with Nashville-based Monument Records and began recording his own music.
Two of the songs he wrote in 1967 later became important. He included Polk Salad Annie on his first album in 1967 and Rainy Night In Georgia on his second album in 1968.
Tony’s first three singles in 1967 and 1968 failed to reach the charts.
In 1968, Monument released Polk Salad Annie as a single, but it failed to click. Early the next year, San Francisco came out and succeeded only in France.
It surprised everybody when Polk Salad Annie suddenly came to life again and reached the Hot 100 in June 1969. The record slowly climbed up the charts and reached #8 in August.
Tony released only two more singles that reached the Hot 100. He continued recording new albums almost every year through 1986 and began recording in earnest again in the nineties. His last new album came out in 2018.
Many artists recorded songs that Tony had written. Tony’s original version of Rainy Night In Georgia went mostly unnoticed on his second album.
It became a major hit for Brook Benton in 1970. His cover version reached #4 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart in early 1970.
Tony died after a heart attack in 2018.
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