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"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]

"Georgia on My Mind"
Single by Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra
B-side "One Night in Havana"
Released 1930
Format 10-inch single
Recorded September 15, 1930 – New York
Genre Jazz, soul, blues, traditional pop
Label Victor 23013
Songwriter(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"
Released September 1960 (1960-09)
Genre Jazz, soul, blues, traditional pop
Length 3:35
Label ABC (US)
Stateside/EMI (UK & Europe)
Songwriter(s) Hoagy Carmichael (music)
Stuart Gorrell (lyrics)
Producer(s) Sid Feller
Ray Charles singles chronology
"Tell the Truth"
"Georgia on My Mind"
"Tell the Truth"
"Georgia on My Mind"


Original versionEdit

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,[3] Carmichael contradicted this view in his second autobiography, Sometimes I Wonder. He 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 of his sister.[4]

The song was recorded on September 15, 1930, in New York by Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra with Bix Beiderbecke on muted cornet, Carmichael on vocals, Eddie Lang on guitar and Charles Winters on bass. The recording was part of Beiderbecke's last recording session.


Stuart Gorrell's letter to his home town Teen Hop patrons, published in the Bremen Enquirer, 3 Aug 1961

Frankie Trumbauer had the first hit recording in 1931 when it reached the top ten on the charts. He had suggested that Carmichael compose the song.

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 as 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. It was released as a single that year as well as on their 1977 album Islands.[5]

Ray CharlesEdit

Ray Charles' 1960 recording on The Genius Hits the Road was a major hit, reaching the number one spot for one week in November 1960 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Though "Georgia On My Mind" was a hit single before Charles' recording, the song has now become strongly identified with Charles in the public consciousness. 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, Charles 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 Ray Charles' version of "Georgia on My Mind" the 44th greatest song of all time.[6]

Willie NelsonEdit

Willie Nelson recorded "Georgia" 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.[7]

A year later, Nelson won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of the song.

Chart (1978) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[9] 84
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 86
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 16


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

Other versionsEdit

See alsoEdit


  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. 
  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. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Morris, Chris, Liner Notes to Islands CD release 
  6. ^ "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 7 April 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  7. ^ "Georgia on My Mind (song by Willie Nelson)". 27 May 1978. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Willie Nelson Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  10. ^ Widran, Jonathan (30 November 2016). "Music Album Review: Deana Martin – "Swing Street" (9/10)". Music Connection. Retrieved 1 December 2016. 
  11. ^ Henderson, Alex. "New Beginnings – Gerald Albright". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  12. ^ Ware, Randall (April 2006). "Gerald Albright – New Beginnings". Smooth Views. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 

External linksEdit

Preceded by
"Save the Last Dance for Me" by The Drifters
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number one single (Ray Charles version)
November 14, 1960 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Stay" by Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs
Preceded by
"Do You Know You Are My Sunshine"
by The Statler Brothers
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
(Willie Nelson version)

June 10, 1978
Succeeded by
"Two More Bottles of Wine"
by Emmylou Harris
Preceded by
"She Can Put Her Shoes Under My Bed (Anytime)"
by Johnny Duncan
RPM Country Tracks number one single
(Willie Nelson version)

June 3-June 10, 1978
Succeeded by
"Night Time Magic"
by Larry Gatlin