The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia By Reba McEntire

For My Broken Heart

1991 | Country

Spotify | Amazon

“That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia. -- That's the night that they hung an innocent man. -- Well, don't trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer. -- Because the judge in the town's got bloodstains on his hands."


  • The Vicki Lawrence version of this song was a #1 on the Billboard 100 and a #12 on the Hot Country Songs chart for Reba McEntire in 1991.
  • "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" is a Southern Gothic song, of the murder ballad type, written and composed in 1972 by songwriter Bobby Russell and sung by Vicki Lawrence.
  • The publisher first thought to offer the song to Liza Minnelli, but it was eventually offered to Cher, who turned it down over concerns it may offend her southern fans.


Luke Tatum

Nothing turns my stomach quite like the buddy-buddy nature of the so-called "criminal justice system." It's a system, alright, but there's no justice to be found. The ones running the show are criminals: harassing innocent people, planting evidence, covering for each other, and more. Want to commit heinous crimes on a daily basis and face no negative consequences? Just say the magic words: "I feared for my life."

Sherry Voluntary

Ahhh, the classic song of the good ol’ boy network that operates on nepotism and corruption, adultery, and murder. True Southern gothic. Talk about quid pro quo! While this story is a fiction told in song, it’s really sad when you realize how often people are railroaded by police, D.A.’s, and Judges. Before I started looking for the truth, I often just believed what is commonly believed about police and the justice system. Sure, sometimes there is corruption and sometimes innocent people lose their freedom and occasionally even their lives, but that’s a small price to pay for the protection they offer. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long once I started to question the system for me to see that it is self-protecting, and self-serving. Not only are all of the apples in the criminal justice system rotten, the barrel itself is crumbling and loathsome.

P.S. It always seemed kind of shitty to me that the sister didn't step forward and admit that she was the murderer and let her brother die at the hands of The State.

Nicky P

I know it's not that many characters but it's enough to make this song a bit difficult to follow. The reason I was excited to include this song, other than an excuse to ogle Reba in her prime, is because it lays bare the worst of how a justice system can be led by incentives. Since there is no profit motive or incentive to solving the crime, it becomes nothing more than a nuisance to be rubber stamped out of the way. Plausibility is enough to keep people from worrying. The highest order incentives for the law is dinner, therefor, they look past the actual murderer to the easy target. Sister obviously is incentivized to not die. I think the strangest part of this song is I can't imagine anyone firing a gun to flag police down. I honestly can't imagine wanting to be anywhere near the police ever, never-mind near a crime scene. Unless of course you were suicidal.

Created By
Nicky P