We introduce and evaluate a simple retrieval of areal-averaged surface albedo using ground-based measurements of atmospheric transmission alone at five wavelengths (415, 500, 615, 673 and 870nm), under fully overcast conditions. Our retrieval is based on a one-line semi-analytical equation and widely accepted assumptions regarding the weak spectral dependence of cloud optical properties, such as cloud optical depth and asymmetry parameter, in the visible and near-infrared spectral range. To illustrate the performance of our retrieval, we use as input measurements of spectral atmospheric transmission from the Multi-Filter Rotating Shadowband Radiometer (MFRSR). These MFRSR data are collected at two well-established continental sites in the United States supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The areal-averaged albedos obtained from the MFRSR are compared with collocated and coincident Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) white-sky albedo. In particular, these comparisons are made at four MFRSR wavelengths (500, 615, 673 and 870nm) and for four seasons (winter, spring, summer and fall) at the ARM site using multi-year (2008-2013) MFRSR and MODIS data. Good agreement, on average, for these wavelengths results in small values (≤0.015) of the corresponding root mean square errors (RMSEs) for these two sites. The obtained RMSEs are comparable with those obtained previously for the shortwave albedos (MODIS-derived versus tower-measured) for these sites during growing seasons. We also demonstrate good agreement between tower-based daily-averaged surface albedos measured for “nearby” overcast and non-overcast days. Thus, our retrieval originally developed for overcast conditions likely can be extended for non-overcast days by interpolating between overcast retrievals.