Tony Joe White “The Swamp Fox” was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist best known for his 1969 hit song “Polk Salad Annie” (also recorded by Elvis, Tom Jones and Dusty Springfield) and for “Rainy Night in Georgia” which he wrote but was originally made popular by Brook Benton in 1970. He grew up on a cotton farm in Louisiana, performing music at school dances and, after graduating high school, in night clubs in Texas and Louisiana.
In 1967 White signed with Monument Records and released four singles between 1967-1970 with little to no commercial success in the U.S. “Polk Salad Annie” had been released for nine months before it finally entered the U.S. charts in July 1969, eventually reaching #8. Tony’s first full length studio album, 1969’s Black and White, featured the songs “Willie and Laura Mae Jones,” “Polk Salad Annie,” and a cover of Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman.” White had three more minor hit singles that followed and he toured with Steppenwolf, Anne Murray, Sly & The Family Stone, Creedence Clearwater Revival and other major rock acts of the 1970s.
White made a comeback in the 1990s, producing, performing and writing songs on Tina Turner’s Foreign Affairs album, including the title song and the hit single “Steamy Windows.” As a result, Tony became managed by Roger Davies, Turner’s manager of the time, and was signed to Polydor. 1991’s Closer to the Truth studio album was a commercial success and helped put White back in the spotlight. Subsequent studio albums were released and in 2014, he appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman alongside the Foo Fighters to perform “Polk Salad Annie.” White died of a heart attack on October 24, 2018 at the age of 75.