Remember that game called “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon?” You know. Pick any Hollywood celeb and connect him/her to Kevin Bacon in six steps. Well, I bet you would never have tried to connect Farrah Fawcett to Gladys Knight. But Marc Myers, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, did.
In the Music section of the August 9, 2013 issue, Myers traces it in his article, “How the Midnight Train Got to Georgia.”
First we have to travel back to 1970. Okay, here’s how it starts:
1. Songwriter Jim Weatherly calls a former football buddy
2. Lee Majors, who’s just started dating
3. Farrah Fawcett. And Farrah answers. “Sorry, Lee’s not home. I’m just packing to take a midnight plane to Houston.” Wow! What a great idea for a song! Weatherly grabs a guitar and writes “Midnight Plane to Houston” in 45 minutes.
4. In 1972 Cissy Houston records it with a few changes. It’s no longer a country ballad, but more of a country-gospel thing. And the title? “My people are from Georgia and we don’t take planes to Houston or anywhere else. Gotta be a train.”
5. Gladys Knight hears Cissy’s version and loves it, but wants a few changes. “I wanted an Al Green thing, you know, something moody with a little ride to it.” Add the Pips, and the rest is history.
Okay, so it’s only 5 steps. But hey – you’ve just been from L.A. to Memphis to Atlanta to New Jersey to Detroit and back to New Jersey. One heck of a train ride.
|From "The Wall Street Journal" Friday, August 9, 2013 D5|