Friends, “Southern Nights” is an absolutely wonderful and joyous song made popular by Glen Campbell back in ’77 from his album of the same name. You might be familiar with it as Director James Gunn picked it to be featured in 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as well as on the soundtrack. Gunn used the classic tune to great effect in the scene involving the nefarious Ravagers trying to sneak up on Rocket Raccoon, who obviously laid a few traps for the unwary group of scoundrels. Because he is Rocket, right?
You might be interested to know however that the late and great Glen Campbell was not the artist who originally wrote and recorded “Southern Nights”. That honor belongs to Allen Toussaint, the singer, songwriter, and record producer who came up with such songs as “I Like It Like That”, “Working in the Coal Mine”, and of course “Southern Nights” – which was recorded and released in 1975 from the album of the same name. As Toussaint, who sadly passed away in 2015, was legendary for his New Orleans style of rhythm and blues – the song is a more soothing version compared to Campbell’s rather spirited take. Both versions are fantastic but Toussaint’s original song just makes me relax and smile after a long day at work.
As I understand it from doing a little research, both Toussaint and Campbell were quite fond of each other’s version of “Southern Nights”. As a matter of fact it’s been said that Glen Campbell claimed when listening to the ’75 tune it reminded him of his youth, growing up on a farm near Pike County, Arkansas. Campbell recorded his version of the tune on October 2nd of 1976, with some minor alterations to the lyrics, before releasing it as a single on January 17th of 1977. One of the changes included a guitar lick that was suggested by Campbell’s friend Jerry Reed, as is mentioned in the video below, a segment from 1982’s Jerry Reed and Special Friends.
In closing out this article, Campbell’s version of the song managed to snag the number one spot in January of ’77 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, and hold onto it for two weeks. In addition to reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart in April as well as staying in the number one spot for four consecutive weeks on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart!