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Michael Bolton - Georgia On My Mind (Michael Bolton: Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2009)

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Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Georgia On My Mind on Wikipedia
"Georgia on My Mind"
Single by Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra
B-side"One Night in Havana"
Format10-inch single
RecordedSeptember 15, 1930 – New York
GenreJazz, soul, blues, traditional pop
LabelVictor 23013
Writer(s)Hoagy Carmichael (music)
Stuart Gorrell (lyrics)
"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)
GenreJazz, soul, blues, traditional pop
LabelABC Records (US)
Stateside/EMI (UK & Europe)
Writer(s)Hoagy Carmichael (music)
Stuart Gorrell (lyrics)
Producer(s)Sid Feller
Ray Charles singles chronology

"Georgia on My Mind" is a song by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, now often associated with the version by Ray Charles, a native of Georgia, who recorded it for his 1960 album The Genius Hits the Road. It became the official state song of Georgia in 1979.[1]


  • 1 Original version
  • 2 Recordings
    • 2.1 Ray Charles
    • 2.2 Willie Nelson
    • 2.3 Deana Martin
      • 2.3.1 Chart performance
  • 3 Cultural significance
  • 4 Lyrics
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links
  • 8 External links

Original version

The song was written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics). Although it is frequently asserted that the lyrics were written not about the state of Georgia, but rather for Carmichael's sister, Georgia Carmichael,[2] Hoagy Carmichael himself contradicted this view with his recounting of the origin of the song in his second autobiography Sometimes I Wonder. Carmichael wrote that the song was composed when bandleader Frankie Trumbauer suggested that he write about the state of Georgia. According to Carmichael, Trumbauer also suggested the opening lyrics should be "Georgia, Georgia ...", with the remaining lyrics coming from Gorrell. Carmichael made no mention at all of his sister in his telling of the song's genesis.[3]

The song was first recorded on September 15, 1930, in New York by Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra with Bix Beiderbecke on muted cornet and Hoagy Carmichael on vocals. It featured Eddie Lang on guitar. The recording was part of Beiderbecke's last recording session.[4] The recording was released as Victor 23013 with "One Night in Havana". In 2014, the recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.


The song has been recorded by many artists, significant among them: Ailee, Richard Manuel, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Ethel Waters, Frankie Laine, Dean Martin, Deana Martin, Jerry Reed, Glenn Miller, Eddy Arnold, The Anita Kerr Singers, Brenda Lee, Lenny Dee, Zac Brown Band, Michael Bublé, Michael Bolton, Dave Brubeck, Anita O'Day, Mildred Bailey, Leon Russell, George Roberts, Ella Fitzgerald, Rebecca Parris, Gerald Albright,[5][6] Jo Stafford, Gladys Knight, Gene Krupa, Grover Washington, Jr., James Brown, Usher, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Nat Gonella and The Georgians, Django Reinhardt, Khalil Fong, Wes Montgomery, Jerry Garcia, John Scofield, John Mayer, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Willie Littlefield, The Righteous Brothers, Deep Purple, Tom Jones, Jackie Wilson, Maceo Parker, Crystal Gayle, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, The Hi-Lo's, Ray Bryant, Coldplay, Annie Lennox (from Nostalgia 2014), the Spencer Davis Group (with Steve Winwood on vocals), Tony Rice, Lou Rawls, Arturo Sandoval, instrumental version by Oscar Peterson, and Al Hirt.[7] Bing Crosby recorded this song twice: in 1956 with Buddy Cole and his trio and in 1975 with Paul Smith and Band for the LP A Southern Memoir.

Frankie Trumbauer had the first major hit recording in 1931, when his recording made the top ten on the charts. Trumbauer had suggested that Carmichael compose the song. Another 1931 hit version was Mildred Bailey's vocal made with members of Paul Whiteman's Orchestra (Victor 22880).

Instrumental version was recorded on March 20, 1962, for the LP There Is Nothing Like a Dame with Pete Candoli and Conte Candoli on trumpets, Shelly Manne on drums, Jimmy Rowles on piano, Howard Roberts on guitar and Gary Peacock on bass.

The song was a standard at performances by Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks in the late 1950s and early 1960s, where it was sung by pianist Richard Manuel. When The Hawks split off on their own and became The Band, they kept the song as part of their repertoire. They recorded a studio version of the song for Jimmy Carter's presidential bid in 1976, which was released as a single that year as well as on their 1977 album Islands.[8]

Cold Chisel's version of the song appeared on the album Barking Spiders Live: 1983 and has become a staple of their live shows. Guitarist Ian Moss still performs the song and a live version is included in his Let's All Get Together album.

The song is also associated with the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps. "Georgia" was originally featured in their 1979 show and the corps continues to perform it today. Currently[when?] the piece is performed as a warmup or in a formal setting by Spirit's members and alumni.

Ray Charles

It was not until Ray Charles' 1960 recording on The Genius Hits the Road, that the song became a major hit, reaching the number one spot for one week in November 1960 on the US Billboard Hot 100. On March 7, 1979, in a mutual symbol of reconciliation in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, he performed it before the Georgia General Assembly (the state legislature). After this performance, the connection to the state was firmly made, and the Assembly adopted it as the state song on April 24.

Although there is no actual evidence to that effect, according to the 2004 film Ray, Charles was lifted from a supposed lifetime ban implemented since 1962.[9][10]

This version of the song was played with a video montage each time that Georgia Public Television went off the air nightly. With the advent of 24-hour broadcasting, it is rarely used now, the last time being in 2009 for the permanent sign-off of GPB's analog TV stations on February 17.

The song was used as the theme song to the CBS sitcom Designing Women (set in Atlanta), initially as an instrumental (performed by Doc Severinsen), and later in a recording by Ray Charles. Charles' version was also sampled for rap group Field Mob's 2005 single, "Georgia", featuring Jamie Foxx and Ludacris. Lil Wayne also uses the song in his satirical song about George W. Bush called "Georgia Bush".

Sometime after 2000, Charles invited the Italian singer Giorgia Todrani to sing the song with him after learning she was named in honor of the song.

Jamie Foxx and Alicia Keys, backed by Quincy Jones and his Orchestra, performed a new arrangement in honor of Ray Charles at the 2005 Grammy Awards.

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson recorded "Georgia" on his 1978 album of standards Stardust. It was released as single, peaked at #1 for a single week and a total of 16 weeks on a country chart.[11] A year later, Nelson won a Grammy award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of the song.

Deana Martin

Deana Martin recorded "Georgia On My Mind" on her 2016 album Swing Street.[12]

Cultural significance

  • An instrumental version of Georgia on my Mind is used during the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia when it is televised, when the leaderboard is displayed.
  • In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind" the 44th greatest song of all time.[15]
  • The title of the song was used as the state of Georgia's license plate slogan exclusively from January 1997 through November 2003
  • The Beatles' song "Back in the U.S.S.R." contains an allusion to "Georgia on My Mind", in which Paul McCartney sings about the female population of the Soviet Republic of Georgia ("and Georgia's always on my mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mind") right after "the Ukraine girls" and "Moscow girls."
  • Brantley Gilbert referenced the song in his 2012 single "More Than Miles".
  • Vance Joy paid homage to the song in his 2015 single "Georgia".
  • It was the theme song for CBS show series, Designing Women (1986-1993), performed as an instrumental (by Doc Severinson) during most of the show's run, though Ray Charles performed the song during the show's 1991-1992 season.
  • It was featured in the Quantum Leap Season 5 Episode "Mirror Image".


The original lyrics, including the commonly excised introductory verse, are in the Georgia Code under license. The location in the 2011 code is section 50-3-60, Official song.

See also

  • List of 1930s jazz standards


  1. ^ "State Song". Georgia Secretary of State. 1979. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Song: Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles". Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  3. ^ Hoagy Carmichael and Stephen Longstreet (1965). Sometimes I Wonder: The Story of Hoagy Carmichael. New York: Da Capo Press. 
  4. ^ Cad, Saint. "10 More Famous Songs With Unknown Originals". Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "New Beginnings overview". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  6. ^ "Gerald Albright - New Beginnings". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  7. ^ "Al Hirt With Henri René And His Orchestra - The Greatest Horn In The World (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  8. ^ Morris, Chris, Liner Notes to Islands CD release 
  9. ^ "32 Years Ago This Month: Ray Charles Serenades the Legislature". Archived from the original on March 11, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  10. ^ Robert Fontenot, Guide. "How did racism affect Ray Charles?". Retrieved June 9, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Georgia on My Mind (song by Willie Nelson) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". 1978-05-27. Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  12. ^ "Review - Deana Martin - Swing Street". Music Connection \ November 30, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Willie Nelson – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Willie Nelson.
  14. ^ "Willie Nelson – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Willie Nelson.
  15. ^ "Elvis Presley, 'Heartbreak Hotel' | 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2011-04-07. Retrieved 2016-07-26. 

External links

  • Georgia-state-song web-page

External links

  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics

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