This Jim Weatherly hit “Mississippi Song” is beautifully performed above.
Weatherly, a star quarterback for the Ole Miss Rebels in the 1960s before going on to enjoy an award-winning career in the music and entertainment field, will join Ray Davies, Donovan, Graham Gouldman and Mark James to become the latest inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 45th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner.
These legendary songwriters wrote such mega-hits as “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “You Really Got Me,” “Mellow Yellow,” “For Your Love,”and “Suspicious Minds.” The star-studded induction event is slated for Thursday, June 12th at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.
“Each of our 2014 inductees has been responsible for captivating the world with their creativity for decades, serving up a rich variety of songs for our global soundtrack,” said SHOF Chairman Jimmy Webb. “We are looking forward to celebrating their contributions at our Annual Awards Gala.”
Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) serves as a vital bridge between music’s past and future. In the Hall, musical pioneers are enshrined and celebrated, while the organization’s outreach to the music community grooms the next generation of troubadours.
Weatherly has been writing songs for over 50 years. In the early 1970’s, he partnered with Larry Gordon who became his publisher and manager. With Larry’s guidance, Weatherly’s songwriting began to flourish. He garnered his first hit with “Neither One Of Us,” which was recorded by Gladys Knight & The Pips.
Gladys and The Pips went on to record 12 of his songs, including “Where Peaceful Waters Flow,” “Midnight Train To Georgia” and “You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me.” The latter was also recorded by Ray Price, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1973. Ray Price went on to record 38 of Weatherly’s songs. Bob Luman also had a top five hit with “Neither One Of Us” in 1973.
As an artist, Weatherly has had his own success with “The Need To Be,” and country hit “I’ll Still Love You.” Glen Campbell, Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond, Kenny Chesney and Garth Brooks are just some of the artists who have recorded Weatherly’s songs throughout the years. His songs have also been used in movies and TV shows such as Broadcast News, The Deer Hunter, Modern Family, Chicago Hope and Ally McBeal.
Born in Pontotoc, Miss., on March 17, 1943, Weatherly began writing songs when he was about 12 years old. He had his own bands during high school and while attending Ole Miss, playing dates throughout the South until he moved to Los Angeles with his rock band, The Gordian Knot, in 1966.
As a quarterback at Ole Miss, Weatherly earned three letters and helped lead Coach John Vaught’s Rebels to 1962 and 1963 Southeastern Conference championships and a share of the 1962 national title as he was part of the University of Mississippi’s only perfect season (10-0), which concluded with a 17-13 victory over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.
“Coach Vaught was a bigger than life personality to me when I was in junior high and high school,” Weatherly said. “When I got to Ole Miss, I was in awe of him. It was hard to believe that I was out there on the field and he was talking to me. He was good to me about my music and was so supportive of me. I loved being at Ole Miss and I still love Ole Miss.”
During Weatherly’s three varsity seasons of playing football at Ole Miss, the Rebels compiled a 22-6-3 record and played in two Sugar Bowls and one Bluebonnet Bowl. Those three bowl games came within a stretch of 15 consecutive bowl game appearances (1957-1971), which was the longest bowl streak in the nation at the time.
Weatherly, who was named second team All-SEC quarterback by both The Associated Press and United Press International in 1964, completed 158 of 291 passes for 1,890 yards and 15 touchdowns during his career, which ranked second at that time in the Ole Miss records book behind Charlie Conerly. Fifty years later, Weatherly still ranks No. 22 all-time passing at Ole Miss.
Playing during an era when college teams scheduled only nine or 10 regular season games, he had 2,584 total offense yards (694 rushing, 1,890 passing) during his career, which ranked third in Rebel history behind Conerly and Kayo Dottley after the 1964 season. Weatherly averaged 5.55 yards per play on 465 total plays during his career, which still ranks No. 9 all-time for a minimum of 400 offensive plays. Following the 2013 season, he still ranks No. 16 on the all-time Rebel total offense list, accounting for 26 TDs.
Weatherly had 91 completions on 170 attempts for 1,034 yards and five TDs during his 1964 senior season and completed 52 of 96 passes for 676 yards and seven TDs his junior year when he teamed with Perry Lee Dunn to help Ole Miss lead the SEC in passing yardage with 167.1 yards a game, which ranked 9th nationally. He ranked eighth in the SEC in total offense, third in scoring passes, and third in passing efficiency in 1963.
Some of his career statistical highlights included completing 7 of 7 passes for 105 yards and one TD and rushing for another 44 yards, including a three-yard TD, in a 37-3 victory over LSU in 1963. He had a 45-yard run against Houston in 1963, which set up a score, and had a 43-yard run for a TD against Mississippi State in 1962.
Selected in the 12th round of the 1965 American Football League draft by Boston, Weatherly decided to forgo a possible career in professional football to follow his dream in the field of music.
The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. Out of the tens of thousands of songwriters of our era, there are approximately 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Hall of Fame. The list includes Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier & Brian Holland, Smokey Robinson, Albert Hammond, Desmond Child, Paul Williams, Hal David & Burt Bacharach, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes & David Porter, Richard & Robert Sherman, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Sir Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Don Schlitz, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Diane Warren, Paul Anka, Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry and Leonard Cohen among many others.
Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available at the Songwriters Hall of Fame’s Virtual Museum.
Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1000 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, (212) 573-6933. Net proceeds from the event will go toward the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.
— Ole Miss Sports Information