On this day in music history: April 7, 1973 - “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” by Vicki Lawrence hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, peaking at #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and #36 on the Country singles chart. Written by Bobby Russell, it is the biggest hit for the comedic actress and co-star of “The Carol Burnett Show”. The story song about a murder in a small southern town, and the man (the narrator’s brother) who is wrongly convicted and executed for it, is first offered to Cher. Her husband and manager Sonny Bono turns it down, feeling it might offend her fans in the South. Lawrence who is married to songwriter Russell (“Honey”, “Little Green Apples”) at the time, thinks its a hit and records it herself. The track is recorded in October of 1972 at United/Western Studios in Hollywood, CA with producer Snuff Garrett (Cher, Gary Lewis & The Playboys), with the finished recording being completed in three hours. Released in November of 1972 by Bell Records, the single lays dormant for a couple of months before finally charting. Entering the Hot 100 at #100 on February 10, 1973, it climbs to the top the chart eight weeks later. The song has a long life after Vicki Lawrence’s version falls off the chart. A number of other artists including Reba McEntire also cover the song. It also inspires a 1981 film starring Kristy McNichol, Dennis Quaid, Mark Hamill and Don Stroud, though the plot actually has nothing to do with the original songs subject matter. Country singer Tanya Tucker records a cover version for the soundtrack. “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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I’m writing and illustrating a graphic novel where the world of early 2000s idie rock all took place in the fictional city of Raytown – the same Raytown that is home to Mama’s Family. I have been told “no” and “too high concept” by many nay-sayers but I believe – No – I know it will be a hit. I will not rest until one day there is a series of movies based on this.  Conor Oberst and Vickie Lawrence will share the silver screen!!!


Carol Burnett Show outtakes - Tim Conway’s Elephant Story (by EarlSinclair)

I remember this episode and it’s genius. I wish there were more shows like this now instead of all the reality garbage that’s on now.

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Vickie Lawrence - “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” (1972)