Georgia On My Mind
music by Hoagy Carmichael
words by Stuart Gorrell
Hoagy Carmichael Orchestra
Herb Ellis, Tal Farlow, and Charlie Byrd
"Georgia on My Mind" is a song written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics). It is the official state song of the U.S. state of Georgia. Gorrell wrote the lyrics for Hoagy's sister, Georgia Carmichael. However, the lyrics of the song are ambiguous enough to refer either to the state or to a woman named "Georgia". Carmichael's 1965 autobiography, Sometimes I Wonder, records the origin: a friend, saxophonist and bandleader Frankie Trumbauer, suggested: "Why don't you write a song called 'Georgia?' Nobody lost much writing about the South." Thus, the song is universally believed to have been written about the state.
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. The recording was part of Bix Beiderbecke's last recording session. The recording was released as Victor 23013 with "One Night in Havana".
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.
Ray Charles, a native of Georgia, recorded it in 1960 on the album The Genius Hits the Road. It became Georgia's state song in 1979. Inspired by this blues version, Willie Nelson formally introduced the song to country audiences in 1978 as a #1 Country/Western hit.
The song was first recorded by Hoagy Carmichael (with Bix Beiderbecke) in 1930. The song has subsequently been covered by many artists, significant among them: Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra, Louis Armstrong, Mildred Bailey in 1931, Dean Martin, Glenn Miller, Zac Brown Band, Michael Bublé, Ian Moss, Willie Nelson, Michael Bolton, Anita O'Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Rebecca Parris, Jo Stafford, Red McKenzie and His Mound City Blue Blowers in 1931, Gladys Knight, Gene Krupa, Grover Washington, Jr., James Brown, Michael Bolton, Alicia Keys and Jamie Foxx, Usher, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, Nat Gonella and his Georgians, The Band, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, John Mayer, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Righteous Brothers, Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Coldplay, The Joel Haynes Trio (with Denzel Sinclair) and the Spencer Davis Group (with Steve Winwood on vocals), Tony Rice in his California Autumn album, as well as Arturo Sandoval in his Ronnie Scott's Jazz House album, and an instrumental version by Oscar Peterson. Czech singer Pavel Novak recorded song in 1968. Bing Crosby recorded this song twice: 1956 with Buddy Cole and his trio for the LP New Tricks and 1975 with Paul Smith and Band for the LP A Southern Memoir.
On 30 July 1963, Lou Rawls recorded the song for his album "Tobacco Road". 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. In 1988, pianist Rob Mullins covered the song from his album "Fifth Gear." American Idol (Season contestant Matt Giraud performed this song during Hollywood Week Second Solo Performance. In 2006, saxophonist Gerald Albright covered the song off the album "New Beginnings."
In 2006, Jimmy Sommers, another saxophonist covered the song for his Standards album "Time Stands Still."
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 U.S. Billboard Hot 100. On March 7, 1979, in a mutual symbol of reconciliation after conflict over civil rights issues, he performed it before the Georgia General Assembly (the state legislature). After this performance, the connection to the state was firmly made, and then the Assembly adopted it as the state song on April 24.
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 permanentsign-off of GPB's analog TV stations on February 17.
The song was used as the theme song to the CBSsitcom 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.
Sometime after 2000, Charles invited the Italian singer Giorgia Todrani to sing the song with him after learning that she was named in honor of the song.
Jamie Foxx and Alicia Keys, backed by Quincy Jones & his Orchestra, performed a new arrangement in honour of Ray Charles at the 2005 Grammy Awards.
Willie Nelson recorded "Georgia" on his 1978 album Stardust. It was released as single, peaked at No. 1 for a single week and total of 16 weeks on a country chart. A year later, Willie Nelson won a Grammy award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
positionU.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles1U.S. Billboard Hot 10084Canadian RPM Country Tracks1Canadian RPM Top Singles86Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks16
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named "Georgia on My Mind" the 44th greatest song of all time.
The title of the song was used as the state of Georgia's license plate slogan exclusively from January 1997 through November 2003, with some of these plates remaining valid through at least December 2009.
Georgia's welcome sign says "Welcome. We're glad Georgia's on your mind.", a reference to the state song.[original research?]
The song is referenced in The Beatles' "Back in the U.S.S.R.", with the line "Georgia's always on my mind" referring to the Georgian SSR (Soviet Georgia).
The song is featured in the Stone Mountain Laser Show that runs each summer outside Atlanta.
The song was one of the songs of the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta.
In the television show Quantum Leap, the Ray Charles version of the song is used in several episodes, since it was the song which played at the wedding of the supporting character Al Calavicci. The usage license was limited, and when the series was released on DVD in the USA, the producers decided they could not afford to renew the rights, so the song was replaced with generic instrumental music. Since the song was used in several emotional scenes, some fans were disappointed with this decision.
The song is mentioned in the Johnny Flynn song, "Hong Kong Cemetery".
The song is featured at the end of the House episode "Saviors" performed by Hugh Laurie.
Part of song was used as Sky Sports coverage of 2011 The Masters golf tournament, being used at every commercial break.
It was the first song The Libertines performed together since their 2004 split, when they opened with it at a guerilla gig at the Boogaloo Pub.
It is the corps song for the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps.
The original lyrics, including the commonly excised introductory verse, are in the Georgia Code under license.