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Jim was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, March 17, 1943. He began writing songs when he was about 12-years old. He had his own bands during high school and college and played dates throughout the South until he moved to Los Angeles with his rock band, The Gordian Knot, in 1966. He attended the University of Mississippi on a football scholarship, where he was an All Southeastern Conference Quarterback and honorable mention All American for the Ole Miss Rebels football team in 1964. He was a member of the only unbeaten and untied National Championship Rebel football team in Ole Miss history in 1962 and SEC champions in 1962 and 1963.

During his years in L.A., Jim wrote songs which not only became pop and R&B classics, but also crossed over to Country, Gospel and Jazz. "Neither One Of Us Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye" was a #1 pop and soul hit and won a Grammy Award for Gladys Knight & The Pips. The next year, that song became a country hit for the late Bob Luman. Later, it became an instrumental jazz hit for David Sanborn. "The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me" was a #1 R&B hit and a #2 pop hit for Gladys Knight & The Pips, and later became a #1 country hit for Ray Price. It has become a classic gospel song first recorded in that field by the Reverand James Cleveland. "Midnight Train To Georgia" was also a #1 pop and #1 R&B hit and helped Gladys Knight & The Pips win another Grammy Award. Jim was nominated for a Grammy as songwriter in the R&B Song category. Gladys Knight & The Pips also had pop and R&B hits with Jim's "Where Peaceful Waters Flow","Love Finds It's Own Way" and "Between Her Goodbye and My Hello".

Jim also had seven albums of his own as a recording artist during that time. "The Need To Be" reached #11 on the Pop charts and #6 on the A/C charts during the mid-seventies. He also had a Top 10 Country record with "I'll Still Love You" He has since released three new cds including a Christmas album of self-penned songs.

Since moving back to the South, Jim has continued to enjoy success. His self-published song "Love Never Broke Anyone's Heart" which he co-wrote with Vince Gill is on Vince's "I Still Believe In You" album which has sold over five million copies. He and Vince also teamed up to write "If I Didn't Have You In My World" for the double-platinum "Pocket Full Of Gold" album.

"A Lady Like You" was #1 on the Country charts for Glen Campbell, and "Where Shadows Never Fall" also recorded by Glen Campbell, won Jim his first Dove Award. New Asylum Country artist, Bryan White had his first #1 Country hit with Jim's "Someone Else's Star." Jim also co-wrote "You Know How I Feel" with Bryan for his debut album.

Jim has also had cuts by such diversified artists as Steve Wariner, Dan Seals, Neil Diamond, Linda Davis, Marie Osmond, Bill Anderson, Charley Pride, Eddy Arnold, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis, Ray Boltz, Peter Cetera, The Indigo Girls, Jeff Carson, Kenny Rogers, Reba McIntire, Kenny Chesney, Joan Osborne, Hall & Oates, Ed Bruce, The Temptations, The Manhattens, The Spinners, The Oak Ridge Boys, B.J. Thomas, Lynn Anderson, Tanya Tucker, Andy Williams, David Sanborn, Ruth Brown, Etta James, Reverand James Cleveland, Widespread Panic, Danny Thomas, Miles Jaye, Jennifer Hudson, David Ball, Peggy Lee, Russ Taff, and many more.

Jim was ASCAP's Country Songwriter of the Year in 1974. He served on the Board of Directors for the Nashville Songwriters Association International for 5-years. In 2006, he was inducted into the NASHVILLE SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME, as well as the MISSISSIPPI MUSICIANS HALL OF FAME. He was inducted into the OLE MISS ALUMNI HALL OF FAME in 2011. In 2014 he received the Governor's Award for Excellence in Music from the state of Mississippi. In June of 2014 he was inducted into the prestigious SONGWRITER'S HALL OF FAME in New York City. In 1999 "Midnight Train To Georgia" was inducted into the GRAMMY HALL OF FAME. In 2001 the National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America selected the 365 Songs of the Century. Number 1 and 2 were "Over The Rainbow" and "White Christmas". "Midnight Train To Georgia" was number 29 with the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" at number 28 and "Imagine" by John Lennon at number 30. "Midnight Train to Georgia" was also selected as one of Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Jim now lives in Brentwood, Tennessee with his wife Cynthia, their daughter, Brighton, and their son, Zack. He continues to write and publish his own songs as well as record and release CDs on his own Brizac Records label.