Sweet Georgia Brown

"Sweet Georgia Brown" is a jazz standard and pop tune composed in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard, with lyrics by Kenneth Casey.

"Sweet Georgia Brown"
Sweet Georgia Brown Tempo Lable Recorded by Brother Bones and His Shadows.PNG
1949 version record label
Brother Bones and His Shadows
Song by Ben Bernie
GenreJazz, traditional pop
Composer(s)Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard
Lyricist(s)Kenneth Casey
Performance by Ben Bernie and his orchestra from 1925
Performance by the Dixieland Band of the United States Army Field Band's Jazz Ambassadors from 2017


Reportedly, Ben Bernie came up with the concept for the song's lyrics – although he is not the credited lyricist – after meeting Dr. George Thaddeus Brown in New York City. Dr. Brown, a longtime member of the Georgia State House of Representatives, told Bernie about his daughter, Georgia Brown, and how subsequent to the baby girl's birth on August 11, 1911, the Georgia General Assembly had issued a declaration that she was to be named Georgia after the state. This anecdote would be directly referenced by the song's lyric: "Georgia claimed her – Georgia named her."

The tune was first recorded on March 19, 1925, by bandleader Ben Bernie, resulting in a five-week stretch at number one for Ben Bernie and his Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra.[1]

One of the most popular versions of "Sweet Georgia Brown" was recorded in 1949 by Brother Bones and His Shadows and later adopted as the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team in 1952.


  • The Beatles, with Roy Young, as a backup band recorded it again for Tony Sheridan on May 24, 1962, in Hamburg, Germany, using the original lyrics. This was released in Germany, on Sheridan's EP Ya Ya in 1962 [7] and in Greece as the b-side of the single Skinny Minny.[8] This recording was rereleased as a single in 1964 during the wave of Beatlemania with Sheridan having re-recorded the vocals with tamer lyrics and the additional verse: "In Liverpool she even dares/to criticize the Beatles' hair/With their whole fan-club standing there/oh Sweet Georgia Brown". This version can be heard on the German compilation album The Beatles' First! and it's numerous reissues. The song was edited as a single for the American market with added guitar and drum parts.

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ CD liner notes: Chart-Toppers of the Twenties, 1998 ASV Ltd.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Gioia, Ted (2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 415. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
  3. ^ "A Bing Crosby Discography". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954. Wisconsin, US: Record Research Inc. p. 103. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.
  5. ^ Windsor Star 26 May 1956 "Gale Storm Gains New Fame as Singing Star" by Matt Dennis p.9
  6. ^ https://thestrangebrew.co.uk/articles/the-bobby-patrick-big-six/
  7. ^ https://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/sweet-georgia-brown/
  8. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Tony-Sheridan-And-The-Beat-Brothers-Ya-Ya-Part-1/release/5293750
  9. ^ "The Return of the 5000 Lb. Man, Allmusic Review".
  10. ^ Billboard Vol 106 #35 (27 August 1994)"Roberta Flack Celebrates 25 Years on Atlantic" by Craig Rosen pp.12, 125
  11. ^ Hartford Courant 17 July 1998 "Flack Soothes With Her Songs" by Donna Larcen p.A4