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"Georgia on My Mind" is a song by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell often associated with 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][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] Hoagy 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, and Eddie Lang on guitar. 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 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.[5]

Ray CharlesEdit

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. After this performance, the connection to the state was firmly made, and the Assembly adopted it as the state song on April 24.

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind" the 44th greatest song of all time.[6]

Willie NelsonEdit

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.[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 "State Song". Georgia Secretary of State. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Georgia General Assembly (April 25, 1979). "Joint Resolution: Official State Song Designated". Georgia Laws 1979 (HTML errors misspell the publisher and conceal the first line of lyrics). pp. 1426–1427. Retrieved June 3, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Song: Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles". Retrieved July 7, 2016. 
  4. ^ Hoagy Carmichael and Stephen Longstreet (1965). Sometimes I Wonder: The Story of Hoagy Carmichael. New York: Da Capo Press. 
  5. ^ Morris, Chris, Liner Notes to Islands CD release 
  6. ^ "Elvis Presley, 'Heartbreak Hotel' | 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2011-04-07. Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  7. ^ "Georgia on My Mind (song by Willie Nelson) ••• Music VF, US & UK hits charts". 1978-05-27. Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  8. ^ "Willie Nelson – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Willie Nelson.
  9. ^ "Willie Nelson – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Willie Nelson.
  10. ^ "Music Album Review: Deana Martin – 'Swing Street' (9/10)". Music Connection. November 30, 2016. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  11. ^ "New Beginnings overview". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  12. ^ "Gerald Albright - New Beginnings". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 
  13. ^ "Al Hirt With Henri René And His Orchestra - The Greatest Horn In The World (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Retrieved 2016-07-26. 

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