Georgia on My Mind

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"Georgia on My Mind"
Hoagy-georgia-on-my-mind.jpg
Single by Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra
B-side "One Night in Havana"
Released 1930 (1930)
Format 10-inch single
Recorded September 15, 1930
Studio Queens, New York City
Genre Traditional pop
Label Victor
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]

Background[edit]

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, 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.

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.[6]

"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"
Released September 1960 (1960-09)
Genre Soul, traditional pop
Length 3:35
Label ABC (US)
Stateside/EMI (UK & Europe)
Composer(s) Hoagy Carmichael
Lyricist(s) Stuart Gorrell
Producer(s) Sid Feller
Ray Charles singles chronology
"Tell the Truth"
(1960)
"Georgia on My Mind"
(1960)
"Ruby"
(1960)

Ray Charles, a native of Georgia, recorded a version that went to No. on the Billboard magazine[4] Hot 100. 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][7]

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.[8] 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]

Willie Nelson chart activity[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[9] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 84
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 86
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 16

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Georgia Secretary of State | State Song". Archive.org/Georgia Secretary of State. 5 September 2008. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b "History – Joint Resolution of the Georgia General Assembly designating "Georgia on My Mind" – GeorgiaInfo". georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu. 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. ^ Morris, Chris, Liner Notes to Islands CD release
  7. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Georgia on My Mind (song by Willie Nelson)". musicvf.com. 27 May 1978. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.

External links[edit]