Tony Joe White Biography


Birthday: July 23, 1943 (Leo)

Born In: Louisiana, United States

Tony Joe White was a singer-songwriter and guitarist from America. He was also known by the nickname Swamp Fox. He garnered fame for his 1969 hit ‘Polk Salad Annie’ and for ‘Rainy Night in Georgia’. He also penned ‘Steamy Windows’ and ‘Undercover Agent for the Blues’, which were sung by Tina Turner in 1989. A native of Louisiana, he began by delivering musical performances at school dances. After obtaining a high-school degree, he entertained crowds in night clubs in Texas and Louisiana. In 1967, he entered into a record deal with Monument Records and put out his debut studio album, ‘Black and White’, two years later. In the ensuing years, he released 15 more studio albums, four live albums, two compilation albums, one soundtrack album, and 29 singles. He had contributed to a number of film and TV projects as well. White passed away in October 2018. He was 75 years old at the time.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Swamp Fox

Died At Age: 75


Spouse/Ex-: Leann White (m. ?–2018)

father: Charlie White

children: Jody White, Michelle White

Born Country: United States

Guitarists Rock Musicians

Died on: October 24, 2018

place of death: Leipers Fork, Tennessee, United States

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

U.S. State: Louisiana

Childhood & Early Life
Born on July 23, 1943, Louisiana, USA, Tony Joe White was raised in a cotton farm near Oak Grove along with his six older siblings. His mother was of part Native American Cherokee ancestry.
Interested in music since he was quite young, he began as a performer at high-school dances. After he received his high-school diploma, he became a performer at night clubs in Texas and Louisiana.
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In 1967, Tony Joe White signed a record deal with Monument Records. Two years later, he released his debut album, ‘Black and White’, which he recorded in 1968. It is comprised of 11 tracks, including ‘Polk Salad Annie’, which Elvis Presley performed numerous times during his live sets in the 1970s.
In late September 1973, White attended the “Memphis sessions” from which Jerry Lee Lewis' ‘Southern Roots’ album emerged. Besides White, musicians like the original MGs, The Memphis Horns, Wayne Jackson, Carl Perkins, and Mark Lindsay were also part of the sessions. According to all accounts, these sessions were essentially a three-day, round-the-clock party.
White continued to release albums on a regular basis. His second studio album, ‘...Continued’, was put out in 1969. The popular song ‘Rainy Night in Georgia’ was part of this album.
In the ensuing years, he released the albums ‘Tony Joe’ (1970), ‘Tony Joe White’ (1971), ‘The Train I’m On’ (1972), ‘Homemade Ice Cream’ (1973), ‘Eyes’ (1976), ‘the Real Thang’ (1980), ‘Dangerous’ (1983), and ‘Roosevelt and Ira Lee’ (1984).
After his attempt of melding his own swamp-rock sound with the popular disco music of the time did not achieve much success, White stopped singing and decided to focus on song-writing. During this period, he worked with American-born French singer Joe Dassin on his only English-language album, ‘Home Made Ice Cream’ (1979), and its French-language counterpart, ‘Blue Country’.
In 1989, he served as the producer on one non-single track of Tina Turner's ‘Foreign Affair’ album. He also served as a musician on several songs and penned four of them, including ‘Steamy Windows’ and ‘Undercover Agent for the Blues’. This eventually led to the signing of a new record deal with Polydor.
He put out two albums through Polydor, ‘Closer to the Truth’ (1991) and ‘The Path of a Decent Groove’. Some of his other albums are ‘Lake Placid Blues’ (1995), ‘One Hot July’ (1999), ‘The Beginning’ (2001), ‘Sneaky’ (2002), ‘The Heroines’ (2004), ‘Uncovered’ (2006), ‘Deep Cuts’ (2008), ‘The Shine’ (2010), ‘Hoodoo’ (2013), ‘Rain Crow’ (2016), and ‘Bad Mountain’ (2018).
Throughout his career, White had performed for the soundtracks of TV shows like ‘Two and a Half Men’, ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and ‘Better Call Saul,’ and films like ‘Bad Influence’, ‘The War’, and ‘La Haine’.
On October 15, 2014, White made an appearance on ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’ and performed ‘Polk Salad Annie’ with Foo Fighters. During the show, Letterman remarked, indicating White, "Holy cow! ... If I was this guy, you could all kiss my ass. And I mean that."
In 1973, White was cast as Cassio in what was to be his only acting appearance, the 1974 musical drama ‘Catch My Soul’. The film was based on the stage musical of the same name, which, in turn, was based on William Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’.
Major Works
Tony Joe White penned and performed ‘Polk Salad Annie’ in 1968. Through the lyrics of the song, White painted a picture of a poor rural Southern girl and her family. Although he was the original singer and songwriter, the song became widely popular after Elvis started performing it.
Family & Personal Life
In 1964, Tony Joe White married Hazel Leann. Their marriage lasted 54 years, until his death in 2018. They had three children together: Jody, Jim Bob, and Michelle.
On October 24, 2018, White passed away due to a heart attack in his home in Leiper's Fork, Tennessee.

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