Songwriters Hall of Famer and Ole Miss football player Jim Weatherly and longtime Oxford sportswriter Jeff Roberson will sign their book “Midnight Train” at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Off Square Books.
Weatherly has been inducted into five music halls of fame and has received two Grammy awards for his songs “Neither One of Us” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
However, his career in the music industry was preceded by years of playing football for Ole Miss. Weatherly was the backup quarterback during a 1962 season that saw the Rebels go undefeated and win the Sugar Bowl.
“Jim Weatherly was a beloved quarterback and a lot of people remember his glory days at Ole Miss,” said Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books. “His career was one that was enjoyable for so many Ole Miss fans, and people also remember how hard he worked on his musical career as well.”
Weatherly played football until he turned his focus to music and songwriting during his senior year of college. He received a record deal with Gladys Knight and Pips after traveling to Los Angeles with his band in search of signing with a label.
Though Weatherly left campus decades ago, Ole Miss students are still aware of his legacy.
“Jim Weatherly was before my time but I think it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard at least one of his songs or heard his name before,” said John Alston, a junior criminal justice major. “I am excited that he has written a book on his life because he is someone that I believe truly never gave up. That’s rare to find in this generation.”
“Midnight Train” is co-written by Roberson, who is also known around the Oxford area for his sportswriting. Howorth said book signings are especially great when the authors mean something to the people of Oxford.
“I have been able to read a good bit of the book and its co-author is someone we have known and wrote a lot of sports writing here in Oxford,” Howorth said. “Roberson knows a lot about Ole Miss and where Jim Weatherly has come from.”
Both Weatherly and Roberson are expected to bring in a large crowd to the book signing due to their Oxford ties.
“As a book store, we love book signings,” Howorth said. “We get to serve in the role of a host and we get to meet the author ourselves. And of course, sell a few books in the process.”
Alston said he is looking forward to attending the signing and meeting Weatherly and Roberson in person.
“Even if I haven’t read the book, it is always exciting to meet someone whose dreams paid off,” Alston said. “I cannot wait to meet both Weatherly and Roberson. They are both so easy to look up to.”