Monday’s Music Moves Me: RIP Tony Joe White

Sharon Cathcart mentioned on her blog the other day that Tony Joe White, a singer, musician, and songwriter who wrote a couple of my favorite songs, “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night In Georgia,” passed away on October 24 at the age of 75, apparently of a heart attack. So, let’s do a set on him.

  1. Brook Benton, “A Rainy Night In Georgia” The first time I heard this, I loved it, and regardless of who does it, I love it. Tony wrote this one here in Marietta, Georgia.
  2. Tina Turner, “Steamy Windows” Tony contributed heavily on Tina’s 1989 Foreign Affair album, writing four of its songs, producing one, and playing on several. This is one of those four songs he wrote, on which he also played guitar, harmonica and synthesizer.
  3. Tina Turner, “Foreign Affair” Tony also wrote the title track from Tina’s album and played guitar on it. The album did better in Europe than in the US.
  4. Joe Cocker, “Across From Midnight” Title track from Joe’s 1997 album, written by Tony and his wife Leann. The album did well on the European continent and reached #97 in the UK.
  5. Joe Cocker, “Let The Healing Begin” Written by Tony and originally recorded in 1994, it appeared on Joe’s 1998 Greatest Hits album.
  6. John Mayall, “Yo Yo Man” Tony wrote it and Belgian blues-rock band Blue Blot did it originally in 1994. Mayall recorded it for his 2001 album Along For The Ride. Backing musicians here include Mayall, Steve Miller, Peter Green, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood.
  7. Isaac Hayes, “That Loving Feeling” Isaac did this on the 1975 album Chocolate Chip.
  8. Etta James, “Out Of The Rain” Recorded in 1990 on her Stickin’ To My Guns LP, it’s been covered by Joe Cocker, Jessi Colter, and Gov’t Mule.
  9. Tony Joe White, “Willie and Laura Mae Jones” Wondering when I’d get to Tony singing his own stuff, weren’t you? This song was on his first album, 1969’s Black and White. This performance was recorded live in Austin, Texas and appears on his 2006 album, appropriately named Live from Austin, TX.
  10. Tony Joe White with Foo Fighters, “Polk Salad Annie” Recorded from his October 2014 appearance on Late Night With David Letterman. This was his one big hit, reaching #8 in 1969. Letterman’s comment at the end of this is totally appropriate.

There’s a list of Tony Joe White songs here which was helpful in putting this playlist together. There are plenty more songs I didn’t include here, and even more that aren’t included on the list. In some respects, Tony was a lot like JJ Cale, who also wrote a lot of songs done by other artists, the difference being that JJ tried to stay out of the limelight more than Tony did. Both were underrated as performers, I think.

Rest in peace, Tony Joe White, and thanks for all the songs.

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for October 29, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

21 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: RIP Tony Joe White

    1. Tony recorded most of the songs here himself; he was quite a good singer and guitarist, and he mastered the art of playing harmonica and guitar simultaneously, which is not as easy as it looks (trust me, I know). His songs had nearly universal appeal, and the number of artists that covered them (which included country and R&B singers as well as rockers) is a testament to that.


      1. Yes, I know he could play all himself and that is pretty cool that he could play the guitar and harmonica at the same time. To be able to do that I always found was a huge gift because the brain has to do 2 different functions at the same time which the brain actually wants to combat..if that makes sense.


        1. It takes some time to be able to sing and play guitar at the same time (it took me a while), and throwing harmonica in there can be a mind-blower. Dylan could do it, Billy Joel could play piano and harmonica, bluesman Jesse Fuller could, and I’ve seen a few others that could, but I never could.


  1. Rainy night in Georgia great riding tune in the car.. you know singalong.. hehehe and I loves Polk Salad Annie, but they weren’t the originals were they? Oooops gotta run my chariot awaits me. Going for my shot now. Later my friend and great selections! HUGS!


    1. All the songs I did today were songs he had written. Brook Benton’s “Rainy Night In Georgia” was the most famous of the covers (there were close to 70). Tony did his own version on his 1969 album, and it’s very good. The original “Polk Salad Annie” probably came out before the members of Foo Fighters were even born…

      Hope your shot went well…


  2. Wow John, this is a fabulous collection of Tony Joe White songs! Joe Cocker’s voice just kills me. Every time. I love his songs. John Mayall kicks ass too.
    And Tony Joe White’s voice may even out-rank Joe Cocker’s, in my book. And that was a great reaction from Letterman. Funny.
    Excellent set here John. I’ll be coming back to listen to this playlist a few more times for sure…

    Have a great week,

    Michele at Angels Bark


    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Joe Cocker really settled down in the ’80’s and proved he could sing. Before that, he was more of a shouter (around the time of Woodstock and Mad Dogs & Englishmen). Tony was a real “swamp rocker,” I think, and had the voice to go along with it. Great stuff…


  3. John,

    I didn’t know Tony Joe White by name. I was quite surprised the only song I recognized on your playlist is “A Rainy Night In Georgia”. At first glance, I thought some of the other titles sounded familiar but when I got to the songs, nope they were new-to-me. I was sorry to read that he passed away last week. 75 years is a good life but it’s not that old…really. May he RIP! Nice tribute for an accomplished songwriter/singer/mewsician!! Thanks for hitting the dance floor with the 4M gang!


      1. John, I’m afraid the original doesn’t jar my memory so I think it’s safe to assume it’s new to me. Oh yeah 75 isn’t so old anymore. That’s less than 20 years away for me. I keep redefining old every few years. 😂 The good thing is we’ll always feel young at heart even when our body tells us different.


  4. I was also a bit surprised to find I only knew two of the songs, Poke Salad Annie (a fav of my husband’s, and he was in instant mourning when he heard the news about Tony Joe White) and Rainy Night in Georgia. I enjoyed seeing Tina Turner not once, but twice, and a little surprised that I didn’t know either song. And I am going to go ahead and feature the White and Foo Fighters on my Duets post for next week.


    1. Sounds like a plan. Both Tina Turner songs are from 1989’s “Foreign Affair,” which as I understand it was not as well received as its predecessor, “Private Dancer.”


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