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Tag Archives: The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia

Further Analysis on a Silly Song

I confess that I like my own writing.  I don’t care to look at my face in the mirror or in pictures, I sure as hell don’t want to hear my voice on a tape recorder (does anybody even use tape recorders any more?), video of me? Yikes!  But to go back and read previous blog posts, I find that kind of fun.  One of my all time favorites of my own blog was called “I’ll Say the Lights Went Out.”  It was about one of the all time dumbest popular songs: “The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia.”  As you see, I put a link back to it, in case anyone is interested in reading it.

That post and the song that inspired it were brought back to my mind a few days ago with an “On This Day” post on Facebook.  I had thought of something that explained the whole song.  You’ll need to know the song for the rest of this post to make sense, by the way.  And the more I think about it, the more I think,  THAT’S IT!!!

The narrator was in love with Andy.  Think about it: it’s the only way things make sense.  She killed the wife first, in hopes Andy would turn to her.  That’s why she hid the body and made it seem that the wife had left town.  It is unlikely that Andy was the kinky sort who would fall for his lover’s murderer, although I guess you never know.  We already figured Andy was not the brightest star, even given Georgia’s dark firmament.

Furthermore, Little Sister no doubt blamed her brother for the whole Andy/Cheating Wife hook-up.  After all, if Brother would have been a better husband, Wife would not have strayed and Andy would have been available.  This, of course,  accounts for her willingness to let Brother take the fall for Andy’s clumsier murder.  IN FACT, and I think of this right now as I type this:  Little Sister probably hurried over to Andy’s and said, “You’ve got to get out of here!  My brother is coming to kill you!”  She figured once she saved his life in this fashion, he would fall into her arms, happy ending, yes.

But, no, Andy spurns her.  He still thinks Cheating Wife left town and will someday return to him.  Little Sister shoots him in a vindictive rage.  In the meantime, Brother is “slipping through the backwoods, quiet as a mouse”  with his heirloom gun with the intention not of killing Andy but of confronting him and demanding the full story, complete with dirty details.  He plans to threaten Andy with the gun, perhaps frighten him and make him pee his pants, then demand to know where Cheating Wife is, because she probably sent her lover a post card.  That explains why he loses his head and “fires a shot” to summon the police.

Ah, it is so satisfying to spin a tale.  What an enjoyable time I have had writing this post.  If only I could use my powers for good.  Thank you for tuning in.



I’ll Say the Lights Went Out

I have always been cursed with the habit of listening to the lyrics of popular songs, at least when you can understand them. I think I’m going to instate a new feature where I talk about some of the more egregious ones. I will begin with the granddaddy of all stupid lyrics, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.”

I will begin with the premise that the reader knows the lyrics. After all, this was one of the great hairbrush songs of the ’70s (you know, where you used a hairbrush as a microphone and sang along with the 45?). So if you don’t know the song, you might like to go listen to it, then read the rest of this.

From beginning to end, the song is ridiculous. First stanza, the guy’s been gone for two weeks and stops for a drink before going home to his wife. What kind of a marriage is that? His wife shouldn’t have cheated on him; she should have dumped his sorry ass!

His friend Andy, for reasons best known to himself, tells him his wife isn’t at home and has been seeing “that Amos boy, Sid.” Then when the guy sees red, Andy confesses he’s been with the wife himself. Excuse me, what? Why would you tell this to a man that is already seeing red? What kind of a death wish does this Andy have, anyways? Nobody is really surprised when, a few lines later, we learn that Andy doesn’t have many friends.

One thing I was never clear on: Was the wife seeing both Andy and Sid Amos or was Andy throwing an innocent man into the line of fire? If they would have made a movie of this this song (I’m a little surprised they didn’t), Sid would have had a pathetically small part.

With only a passing thought to his missing wife (“must’ve left town”), the brother goes off with murder on his mind. I believe this is the first time the singer mentions that it’s her brother. And in the first indication of how dysfunctional the family is, we learn that the only thing his father left him was a gun. Well, maybe Papa was poor. I guess he’s dead and we needn’t concern ourselves with him, but I must say he certainly didn’t raise his kids right.

Off through the woods to kill Andy, Brother sees somebody else’s tracks (only now do I wonder how he could see them in the woods with the lights out) (really, this song is the gift that keeps on giving).

Where to begin with the next event? He’s going to kill Andy, finds out Andy is already dead. Instead of saying, “Saves me the trouble” and quietly going home and getting on, he calls the police. And not by picking up a phone and dialing 911 or even saying, “Operator, get me the police!” (it was the ’70s, after all) (yeah, that line was an anachronism): he fires his gun. The mind boggles. How did he even find his way home from Candletown when he clearly does not have the brains he was born with.

My sisters and I speculated that the judge was riding around in the car with the sheriff, because the “make-believe trial” happened so fast. I imagine the lack of ballistics report and investigation of clues such as the small footprints saved a lot of time.

They must have strung him up pretty fast, though, to not give his little sister time to pipe up and say she done it. Kind of a disingenuous argument after all: “I didn’t have TIME to save my brother and get hung myself!” Fast as she was about shooting everybody else, I find that a little hard to believe.

Another big question I have is: how come she hid the wife’s body were it’ll “never be found” but left Andy lying “in a puddle of blood” for all to see? And come to think about it, who shoots somebody for cheating on their brother? Did I mention dysfunctional family earlier? I guess so!

And can I just say, getting cheated on is grounds for DIVORCE! And when your best friend is sleeping with your wife you FIND A NEW BEST FRIEND! And when your brother faces these problems, what a little sister should offer is a shoulder to cry on and the name of a good divorce lawyer.

I’m sure there are many good songs about cheating wives and bad friends that do not involve murder. They probably won’t make such fun blog posts, though.