Georgia on My Mind

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Georgia on My Mind

Regional anthem of  Georgia
LyricsStuart Gorrell, 1930
MusicHoagy Carmichael, 1930
Published1930; 89 years ago (1930)
Adopted1979; 40 years ago (1979)
"Georgia on My Mind"
Single by Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra
B-side"One Night in Havana"
Released1930 (1930)
Format10-inch single
RecordedSeptember 15, 1930
Studio155 E 24th Street, New York City
GenreTraditional pop
Composer(s)Hoagy Carmichael
Lyricist(s)Stuart Gorrell

"Georgia on My Mind" is a 1930 song written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell and first recorded that year. It has often been associated with Ray Charles, a native of the U.S. state of Georgia, who recorded it for his 1960 album The Genius Hits the Road. In 1979, the State of Georgia designated it the official state song.[1][2]


Stuart Gorrell's letter to the Bremen Enquirer, August 3, 1961

It has been asserted that Hoagy Carmichael wrote the song about his sister, Georgia.[3] But Carmichael wrote in his second autobiography Sometimes I Wonder that saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer told him he should write a song about the state of Georgia. He jokingly volunteered the first two words, "Georgia, Georgia...", which Carmichael ended up using while working on the song with his roommate, Stuart Gorrell, who wrote the lyrics.[4][5] Gorrell's name was absent from the copyright, but Carmichael sent him royalty checks anyway.[4]

Carmichael recorded "Georgia on My Mind" with Bix Beiderbecke on cornet[4] Eddie Lang on guitar, Joe Venuti on violin, Jimmy Dorsey on clarinet, and Charles Winters on double bass in September 15, 1930, in New York City. This was part of Beiderbecke's last recording session.

Frankie Trumbauer[4] had the first hit recording in 1931 when it reached the top ten on the charts.

Ray Charles[edit]

"Georgia on My Mind"
Ray C. Geor.jpg
Single by Ray Charles
from the album The Genius Hits the Road
B-side"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny"
ReleasedSeptember 1960 (1960-09)
GenreSoul, traditional pop
LabelABC (US)
Stateside/EMI (UK & Europe)
Composer(s)Hoagy Carmichael
Lyricist(s)Stuart Gorrell
Producer(s)Sid Feller
Ray Charles singles chronology
"Tell the Truth"
"Georgia on My Mind"

Ray Charles, a native of Georgia, recorded a version that went to No. 1 on the Billboard magazine[4] Hot 100.

In 1977 Robert Grossman, James Picker and Craig Whitaker created a clay animation short, Jimmy The C, in which U.S. President Jimmy Carter sings Georgia On My Mind, in Ray Charles' version. [6] [7][8]

On March 7, 1979, in a symbol of reconciliation in the aftermath of years of activism and national legislation resulting from the Civil Rights Movement, he performed the song before the Georgia General Assembly. After this performance, the Assembly adopted it as the state song on April 24.

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named the Ray Charles version of "Georgia on My Mind" the 44th greatest song of all time.[4][9]

It was also sampled in Georgia by Field Mob and Ludacris

The Band[edit]

The song was a standard at performances by Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks[4] where it was sung by pianist Richard Manuel after 1964. When The Hawks broke up and formed The Band, they kept the song in their repertoire. They recorded a studio version of the song for Jimmy Carter's presidential bid in 1976. It was released as a single that year as well as on their 1977 album Islands.[10]

Willie Nelson[edit]

Willie Nelson recorded the song[4] on Stardust, his 1978 album of standards. It was released as single, peaked at No. 1 for a single week, and ranked for sixteen weeks on a country chart.[11] A year later, Nelson won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version.

The original lyrics, including the commonly excised introductory verse, are in the Georgia Code under license.[1][2]

Chart activity[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[12] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 84
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 86
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 16

Spirit Of Atlanta[edit]

The song is also performed by the Spirit Of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps. It is either played as a warm-up in the lots of competitions, or in the stadium for encore performances. The corps first played the tune for their field show in 1979. [14]

Designing Women[edit]

An instrumental version of the song served as the theme to the CBS sitcom Designing Women, which ran from 1986 to 1993.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Georgia Secretary of State | State Song". Secretary of State. 5 September 2008. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2015.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  2. ^ a b "History – Joint Resolution of the Georgia General Assembly designating "Georgia on My Mind" – GeorgiaInfo". 24 April 1979. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  3. ^ Fox, Cen. "Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles in Georgia". Song Places. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. pp. 122–124. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  5. ^ Carmichael, Hoagy; Longstreet, Stephen (1976). Sometimes I Wonder: The Story of Hoagy Carmichael (Repr. d. Ausg. New York 1965. ed.). New York: Da Capo. ISBN 9780306708091.
  6. ^ McCall, Douglas L. (September 11, 2015). "Film Cartoons: A Guide to 20th Century American Animated Features and Shorts". McFarland – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "About | ROBERT GROSSMAN". robertgrossman.
  8. ^ "1977 Academy Awards". InfoPlease. Archived from the original on February 14, 2011.
  9. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  10. ^ Morris, Chris, Liner Notes to Islands CD release
  11. ^ "Georgia on My Mind (song by Willie Nelson)". 27 May 1978. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  13. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps", Wikipedia, 2019-06-08, retrieved 2019-08-08

External links[edit]