Rainy Night In Georgia

Album: Brook Benton Today (1969)
Charted: 4

Songfacts®:

  • This song was written by the Louisiana swamp rocker Tony Joe White, who first recorded it on his second album, Continued, in 1968. The song is ode to loneliness and fatalism, as it finds our hero outside in the rain with nowhere to go and no woman to love him. "I knew about rainy nights in Georgia," White said in our 2013 interview. "When I got out of high school, I went down to Marietta, Georgia to live with my sister and get a job. I got a job driving a truck for the highway. Then every time it would rain, I would get to stay home and play my guitar. So I remembered them rainy days and rainy nights down there."

    White had a hit of his own with "Polk Salad Annie," which hit #8 in the US in August 1969. Benton's version of "Rainy Night In Georgia" peaked at #4 in March 1970.
  • Brook Benton was a Soul singer who had recently signed with Atlantic Records when he recorded this song. Atlantic boss Jerry Wexler, who was enjoying tremendous success with Aretha Franklin, introduced the song to Benton and had him record it with Arif Mardin producing. Recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, the song went to #1 on the R&B charts, supplanted a week later by Franklin's "Call Me." Musicians on the track included Cornell Dupree (guitar), Toots Thielmans (harmonica) and Harold Cowart (bass).

    The song was the last big hit for Benton; he died in 1988 at age 56.
  • Tony Joe White had left Georgia when he wrote this song. He had been living in Texas for about eight months when he heard the Bobbie Gentry song "Ode To Billie Joe"on the radio, and the lightbulb turned on. "I thought, How real!," White told us. "And if I ever decided to write a song, I'd write something real and something that I knew about. I knew about rainy nights, and within about two weeks the song was laid down."
  • This has been covered by Ray Charles, Hank Williams Jr. and Tennessee Ernie Ford.
  • This was #498 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Comments: 11

  • Manuel Jackson from Shreveport LouisianaBrook Benton is one of my most favorite singer he was greatly intelligent and his abilities was out of the roof.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyExactly fifty years ago today on March 8th, 1970 "Rainy Night In Georgia" by Brook Benton peaked at #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles* chart...
    The week before it was in it's second of two weeks at #4 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, and that was it's peak position on the Top 100...
    Between 1959 and 1978 the Lugoff, South Carolina native had thirty-six records on the Billboard's R&B Singles chart, twenty-one made the Top 10 with seven reaching #1...
    Mr. Benton passed away on April 9th, 1988 at the young of 56 {pneumonia}...
    May he R.I.P.
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Hot Soul Singles' Top 10 on March 8th, 1970:
    At #2. "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" by Sly and the Family Stone {Last week's #1 record}
    #3. "Call Me" by Aretha Franklin
    #4. "It's A New Day" by James Brown
    #5. "Psychedelic Shack" by the Temptations
    #6. "Did I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" by the Delfonics
    #7. "The Bells" by the Originals
    #8. "Gotta Hold On To This Feeling" by Junior Walker and the All-Stars
    #9. "Do The Funky Chicken" by Rufus Thomas
    #10. "To The Other Woman" by Doris Duke...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NySadly, Toots Thielmans passed away on August 22nd, 2016 at the age of 94...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Rocky from Fort Smith, ArI love this song by Brook Benton. Back in '69, I was serving in the Army in Vietnam & it was played a lot over the AFVN radio there. A really moody and emotional song that really gets to ya. Thanks to Barry of Saquoit, NY for reminding us of Benton's significant career. Back in the late 50s and early 60s, I loved Brook Benton hits that were on the radio then. The R&B hits back then were so fine! And Benton had so many of them. I was saddened when he passed. What a great talent.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 4th 1970, "Rainy Night In Georgia" by Brook Benton entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on March 1st, 1970 it peaked at #4 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on March 8th, 1970 it reached #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1959 and 1978 he had thirty-six records the R&B Singles chart; with twenty one making the Top 10 and seven reaching #1; "It's Just a Matter of Time" (1959), "So Many Ways" (1959), "Thank You Pretty Baby" (1959) "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)" w/Dinah Washington (1960], "Kiddio" (1960), "A Rockin' Good Way" w/ Dinah Washington (1960), and finally "Rainy Night in Georgia"...
    R.I.P. Mr. Benton, born Benjamin Franklin Peay, (1931 - 1988).
  • Randy from Houghton Lake, MiI love listening to this when I'm feeling down. I really like the Brook Benton version but have to agree with David in PA the Sam Moore and Conway Twitty version is jaw droppingly good.
  • David from Pen Argyl, PaThere's a jaw-dropingly good version of it as a duet: Sam Moore and Conway Twitty(!) on the excellent 1994 duets album, Rhythm Country and Blues
  • Paul from St Paul, Mnmatters not if you are white-black or inbetween this song reminds us that sooner or latter clouds will hover.
  • Luke from Manchester, EnglandThis song was also covered by Randy Crawford
  • Magos from Orlando, FlI experienced "On line Interruptus" while posting the lyrics to "Polk Salad Annie",(the original
    Tony Joe White version) but it bears a listen.
    Having SEEN Benton, Presley, and others perform
    their versions, this 'ol dog can only bark praise for the original.
  • Greg from Shelbyville, KyI recall reading an intgerview with Benton's producer (I think) who said he played Tony Joe's record for him. Tony Joe had a fairly simple preformance, and Benton thought it was a demo tape, but it was the real studio album. Tony Joe White's big hit was "Polk Salad Annie". It has the great line: "Gator's got your Granny; Chomp, Chomp"
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