The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

VICKI LAWRENCE 1973 Chart Position: #1

He that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill
James 2:11

It is reasonably safe to say that the most widely understood and practiced of God's commandments is "Thou shalt not kill." (Exodus 20:13) Almost every one of us knows that aside from self-defense, there is no justifiable reason to take the life of another. In most cases, we feel little sympathy for the man or woman who will commit, attempt, or even consider such a heinous act. The sin of adultery is likely the second most popular of the commandments, but one of the least obeyed. Sadly, the sin of adultery has been underestimated in its power to devastate lives and destroy families.

"The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" was composed by Bobby Russell, who had previously found success as a singer/songwriter. You may recall his 1971 novelty hit "Saturday Morning Confusion," in which he makes light of being too hung over to spend time with his family after a long night of carousing with his drinking buddies.

Before their highly publicized divorce, Russell was married to prominent television figure Vicki Lawrence, (The Carol Burnett Show, Mama's Family) who recorded "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia" when nobody else would.

Set in a small southern town, this song describes one man's horror as he discovers his wife has been having sex repeatedly with many of his "friends." Deciding that murder is the best solution, he sets out gun in hand to kill his enemies, only to find that somebody has already done the job for him. Falsely charged in a "make believe trial," he is hanged by an angry mob of hillbillies as the vocalist glibly boasts to the audience of her serial killings.

This surefire hit was first offered to popular singer/actress Cher, who refused it, fearing a loss of popularity with the southern cross section of her audience. Vicki's rendition was a runaway chart-topper, becoming one of the most popular singles of 1973. Later that same year, Cher recorded her #1 hit "Dark Lady," in which she describes how she brutally murdered her cheating lover and phony spiritual adviser.

Can you recall a time when marital infidelity has disrupted your life? Perhaps the lives of a parent or loved one. If the details of your situation were openly displayed for the amusement of the public, how would you feel? The sin of adultery is a painful one, and can permanently disfigure the soul. To make light of such a serious situation is wrong. The individual who is suffering is highly vulnerable and suggestible. To encourage vengeance as this song does is reprehensible, and those who are a party to it will surely suffer the wrath of God.