Tony Joe White passes at 75
Thursday, October 25, 2018
– Tony Joe White, best known for his 1969 hit "Polk Salad Annie" and for writing "Rainy Night in Georgia", died on Wednesday at 75 of a heart attack in the Nashville area.
White also was known for his swamp rock style of music. He released a new album last month on the Yep Roc label.
White was born July 23, 1943 in Oak Grove, La. Following high school, he played at clubs in Louisiana and Texas. He was inspired to write his own original material after hearing Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe." In 1967, he signed with Monument Records with Billy Swan as his producer. White released four singles without success in the U.S. That was until "Polk Salad Annie" came out. The song actually had been out for nine month before finally entering the charts in July 1969. It eventually went to number eight on the chart becoming his biggest hit.
Brook Benton scored a big hit with "Rainy Night in Georgia."
He released his first album, "Black and White," in 1969. He had minor hits, but after failing to achieve much success with three albums from 1976-83, he concentrated on songwriting. He wrote four songs on Tina Turner's massive hit disc, "Foreign Affair."
His own career persevered though, recording several albums for Polydor. Changing labels several times, White released "Bad Mouthin'" last month, his third for Yep Roc.
White leaves his wife, Leann, and three children.
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It's been just over four decades since Tony Joe White eased into the spotlight with Polk Salad Annie, a folk/blues song that established White as a swampy, gritty and slightly more dangerous version of Elvis Presley. At the same time, there was a hint of novelty in Polk Salad Annie ("Gators got your granny, chomp, chomp chomp...") that could have painted White in a corner, but he proved more versatile and durable than his big hit. And although he hasn't had a song nearly as big »»»
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