Reba Tells the Story Behind “That’s The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia”


During an appearance on the Bobby Bones (radio) Show, Reba talked about her new music, but also some of her biggest and most well-known hits. Like… “That’s The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia.”

I always hoped this was some weird true story. I mean, can you imagine? That’s a country music song. I’ve heard this song at least 100,000 times in my life and I’m still not totally sure who’s brother shot who and what Andy did and how the big-bellied sheriff was involved.

Turns out, in 1971 a songwriter named Bobby Russell was married to the hilarious and legendary Vicki Lawrence. Record executives and singers from Liza Minnelli to Cher turned the song down, so Lawrence went into the studio and recorded it herself.

It was an immediate No. 1 hit for the comedienne who was, at the time, a regular performer on “The Carol Burnett Show.” It was her only hit.

In 1981 Tanya Tucker recorded a version of the song, but with different lyrics.

Finally, in 1991 Reba recorded a cover of the song because, as she told Bobby Bones, “I liked it so much.”

Reba’s version peaked at No. 12 on Billboard’s Hot Country Chart, but of course has become one of her songs.