Ole Miss to present first Medal of Arts to Jim Weatherly

Singer-songwriter and Ole Miss graduate Jim Weatherly is honored with the medal, which recognizes artistic talent in the Oxford community.

OXFORD, Mississippi — The University of Mississippi announced Monday that the late acclaimed songwriter and former UM Jim Weatherly will receive the university’s inaugural Medal of Arts.

UM’s music department will recognize Weatherly’s songwriting legacy and contributions to many genres of music.

Members of Weatherly’s family will be on hand to deliver remarks and receive the award.

“The Medal of Arts award recognizes artistic talent – ​​acclaimed or promising – or a supporter of the arts who positively affects the University Lafayette-Oxford community,” said Nancy Maria Balach, President and Music Professor and CEO- artistic director of Living Music Resource.

Weatherly, who died Feb. 3, 2021, was a star quarterback for the Ole Miss Rebels, leading coach John Vaught’s teams to Southeastern Conference championships in 1962 and 1963 and a share of the 1962 national title.

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He wrote mostly pop and country music. Originally from Pontotoc, Weatherly started writing songs when he was around 12 years old. He had his own bands during high school and while studying at Ole Miss until he moved to Los Angeles in 1966.

He wrote some of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ greatest hits, including “Neither of Us Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye”, “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”. In 1999, “Midnight Train to Georgia” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and was named one of Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2003.

Weatherly has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. He was named Country Songwriter of the Year in 1974 by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

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He has also recorded tracks by Marie Osmond, Charley Pride, Dean Martin, Kenny Rogers, Reba McIntire, Kenny Chesney, Joan Osborne, Hall & Oates, Ed Bruce, The Temptations, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker, Widespread Panic, Jennifer Hudson. and much more.

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