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Morning Song – Southern Nights

November 12, 2015

Allen Toussaint wrote “Southern Nights” when he needed one more song to finish an album for Warner Brothers and Van Dyke Parks asked him, “Well, consider that you were going to die in two weeks. If you knew that, what would you think you would like to have done?

As Toussaint remembers it:

“…after he said that, I wrote “Southern Nights” as soon as he left. I stood right there and wrote it. It all came at once, because I lived that story. It was one of those things that writers would like to happen all the time. We would like to write from total sheer spiritual inspiration, but many times we just write from our tools and our bible. That song was a total inspiration. It felt like a soft clear white flower settled above my head and caressed me. I really felt highly, highly inspired and very spiritual doing that song.”

Toussaint recorded it as a slow, dreamy slice of New Orleans psychedelic soul and made it the title cut on his best album.  Glen Campbell—another veteran studio man—picked up the tempo, gave it a country-disco arrangement and took it to #1 in 1977.

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