Did You Know Reba’s Hit ‘The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia’ Was Originally Recorded By Comedian & Leading Actress of ‘Mama’s Family’ Vicki Lawrence?

Reba country music
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We have Gen Z to thank for reviving the classic Reba ballad, “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia,” after it’s correlation to the viral Alex Murdaugh trial.

But there’s more to the history of this Reba hit song than meets the eye…

Actually it’s sort of a miracle this song was ever recorded and released in the first place, and no, Reba isn’t the original songstress of this creepy murder ballad.

The song was originally penned by singer-songwriter Bobby Russell, but he actually thought the song was flat, and he definitely wasn’t inspired by its potential.

As fate would have it though, Bobby was then married to Golden Globe comedian and actress nominee, Vicki Lawrence, better known as “Mama” (or Thelma Harper) from the sitcom Mama’s Family, or from The Carol Burnett Show where she got her start.

Vicki found the song compelling, and thought Bobby was dead wrong about the song’s potential, so she recorded it herself in 1973 – and it was the only song she ever recorded!

No doubt, this effort was one of proving her husband wrong, and ironically the song finally climbed and topped the charts about the time Vicki and Bobby divorced a year later. The marriage between the two may have been short-lived, but the song’s impact was not!

Vicki jokingly called “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” the only good thing to come out of her and Bobby’s marriage.

In another odd twist of the song’s history and prior to the popular 1991 Reba cover, it was also offered to Cher. But on her behalf, her husband Sonny Bono shut down the possibility of her recording it, afraid that the song’s connotations would upset her Southern fanbase. Cher reportedly didn’t even know about the offer for many years after.

A year before songwriter Bobby Russell’s death, Reba McEntire picked up the song and got permission to do a cover of it. It’s no secret that Reba is a lover of long ballad style songs, and her cover was easily the most monumental moment in the song’s life.

Reba’s version skyrocketed to the top and continues to be a hit with country music listeners with its slow-building climax and plot twist ending, and of course in comparison to the Murdaugh trial it stands to remind everyone not to trust “backwoods southern lawyers.”

But, not to be forgotten, the song was first recorded by “Mama,” a class act and comedian who believed in its durability as a hit, and damn if she wasn’t right on target.

Reba Announces New Book ‘Not That Fancy,’ Along With Album

Reba has a new book coming soon.

The lifestyle book is called Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots, and will go on sale Tuesday, October 10th.

The legend herself, Miss Reba McEntire, tells stories from her life, shares photos from her iconic country music career, never-before-seen photos from all of her adventures, as well as some of her favorite family recipes, and fans will get an intimate glimpse at who Reba is as a person and musician.

And along with the new book, Reba will release an accompanying album also titled NOT THAT FANCY.

She teamed up with one of the best producers in Nashville, Dave Cobb, to record stripped-down versions of some of her most famous songs, as well as a brand new single “Seven Minutes In Heaven.”

The album will be out everywhere on Friday, October 6th, and you can check out the book cover below.

The foreword was penned by her friend and fellow country legend Garth Brooks:

Let’s cue it up…


1. The Fear of Being Alone
2. Consider Me Gone
3. Somebody Should Leave
4. How Blue
5. If You See Him, If You See Her with Brooks & Dunn
6. Till You Love Me
7. Seven Minutes In Heaven
8. The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia
9. Does He Love You with Dolly Parton
10. One Promise Too Late
11. The Last One To Know
12. New Fool At An Old Game
13. I’m A Survivor
14. Fancy

Shop the ’90s Country Collection from Whiskey Riff Shop

“The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” Goes Viral Amid Alex Murdaugh Trial

Thank you, Gen Z, for giving Reba time in the limelight during your daily routine.

This TikTok trend has kept me giggling throughout the Alex Murdaugh trial.

In case you have been living under a rock, the past few weeks, everyone has been talking about the trial of Alex Murdaugh, who was charged with killing his wife and son.

If you haven’t actively been watching the trial, you have probably binged watched the three-part Netflix docuseries about the events that led up to the trial. There’s also another docuseries on HBO, too…

The prominent South Carolina family ran their small town because their father, Alex, ran the local law firm. Through many twists and turns, covering up family wrong-doings, cold murder cases that led back to the Murdaugh family, and the unraveling of their family’s law firm, Alex Murdaugh’s wife and son were found dead.

The prime suspect was the head of the household, Alex.

He was found guilty of the murders of his wife and son, leading to some funny internet commentary (including OJ Simpson), but the story is genuinely wildly tragic.

Outside of Twitter, though, Gen Z’s humor has been shining on TikTok with a bit of help from our friend Reba.

Kids that have been following the trial are posting clips of their thoughts to the line from Reba’s “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” where she says:

“Well, don’t trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer.”

Hilariously ironic.

@sommerlucas3 #murdaugh #murdaughtrial #southcarolina #alexmurdaugh #fyp #foryou ♬ The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia – Revived – Reba McEntire

And another:

@mendyperdew2022 Seriously though 🤦‍♀️ #spillthetea #tea #thetea #murdaughfamily #fyp ♬ The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia – Revived – Reba McEntire

Ok… one more.

@kamavu08 I’m ready for my jury instructions, Judge. #AlexMurdaugh #AlexMurdaughTrial #MurdaughTrial #Guilty #LawAndCrime ♬ The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia – Revived – Reba McEntire

In this case, Reba’s words rang true… ol’ Alex Murdaugh, who for some reason pronounces his name “Alec Murdock,” was found guilty and will be going away for the rest of his natural life… and then some.


Reba Opens “Reba’s Place,” A New Restaurant & Music Venue Near Her Hometown In Oklahoma

Go ahead and add restaurateur to Reba’s resume, folks.

This past Thursday, just a few miles outside of her hometown in Chockie, Oklahoma, Reba held the grand opening of her new three-story dining and entertainment establishment.

Creatively and casually named, “Reba’s Place,” the restaurant will serve a long list of food choices personally selected by none other than Reba herself. The dishes are inspired by famous ones in her hometown and locations she frequents. The menu includes Choctaw’s famous beef brisket, a ‘Fancy’ steak, and a southern style charcuterie board.

No corn dogs?

The location will also hold a great deal of Reba’s personalized memorabilia, and according to the website, pieces will regularly cycle and change.

But for Reba, this isn’t just another challenging feat in a new arena. She refers to Reba’s Place as “an excuse to get to come home” and she also added that the venue will help provide needed jobs in the small community where she grew up.

The grand opening featured a pop-up concert from the woman herself, and also a few kind words from the local Choctaw Nation’s senior executive concerning Reba’s involvement and attempt to give back to her community in a new, fun way:

“Her hands are all over this property here tonight. She’s picked out every dish you’ve got on your table tonight. She’s picked out every color. Draperies, color schemes, color palettes. Everything.

She’s been so engaged. She’s on every call. We don’t have a call without her being on there.”

The opening night, as well as Reba’s live performance was all captured on video by Reba’s team, including some great shots of the of the restaurant and its western vibe:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock