Sunday, July 5, 2009

Rant #37: Midnight Train To Fawcett

Yes, I also heard about her passing while on vacation.
I probably was the only male on the planet who didn't have a thing for this Charlie's Angel in the 1970s. I found her to be a horrid actress, and not as pretty as advertised under all that hair (Jaclyn Smith was--and still is--a hottie).

I found her most recent self promotion--showing her waning days on an NBC special--despicable. Obviously, she was not of her right mind when she agreed to this. What is even more ridiculous is that had she lived, NBC was planning a followup special. They really should be ashamed of themselves.

I will give Farrah credit for one thing--she inspired one of the biggest hits of the 1970s. I will cut this story down to the bare facts. Fawcett was a struggling actress in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and by the early 1970s, she had taken up residence with Lee Majors, her future husband.

The pair were friendly with a then unknown songwriter named Jim Weatherly. Weatherly called Majors at home to speak with him, but he was not home and Farrah picked up the phone. Weatherly did not know Farrah that well--he knew Majors very well--but they got into a somewhat long conversation anyway.

Farrah told him she was soon going to Texas (Houston) to visit relatives. She had trouble getting a plane for the day she wanted to leave, having to take an overnight trip, and used the phrase, "the midnight plane to Houston" in this conversation.

Weatherly hung up the phone when the conversation was over, but the phrase was one he couldn't forget.

He wrote a song "Midnight Plane to Houston" but changed "Plane" to "Train" because in the context of the song, he wanted to convey a feeling of desperateness, and he felt that using train instead of plane would give the protagonist in the song more outs (as in train stops) to contemplate.

Anyway, the song was given to Cissy Houston to record. However, Houston did not want to use "Houston" in the song title for obvious reasons, and she asked Weatherly to come up with another city. He chose "Georgia," and Houston recorded the song. It flopped.

However, a few years later, Gladys Knight and the Pips discovered the song and had a number one hit with it in 1973.

So, I guess Farrah should be as well known for this as she was for her hair, but I guess that won't happen, will it?


  1. Great story here.I knew that Weatherly wrote - and did the original recording of "Midnight Plane to Houston" but didn't know the Fawcett-Majors connection.

  2. Yes, that is a pretty neat story. Weatherly went on to a good career as a songwriter/performer, and that song is heard on oldies stations to this day.



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