Georgia on My Mind

Georgia on My Mind

"Georgia on My Mind" is a song written in 1930 by Stuart Gorrell (lyrics) and Hoagy Carmichael (music). 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 be referring either to the state or to a woman named "Georgia." Carmichael's 1965 autobiography, "Sometimes I Wonder", records the origin: a friend suggested: "Why don't you write a song called 'Georgia?' Nobody lost much writing about the South."

The song is perhaps best known as sung by Ray Charles, who recorded the song in 1960 on the album "The Genius Hits the Road". It became Georgia's state song in 1979.


The song has been covered by many artists, significant among them: Glenn Miller, Willie Nelson, Anita O'Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford, Gladys Knight, James Brown, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Nat Gonella and his Georgians, The Band, Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Righteous Brothers, Van Morrison, Coldplay, Hoagy Carmichael (with Bix Beiderbecke), and the Spencer Davis Group (with Steve Winwood on vocals) among others.

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 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. After this performance, the connection to the "state" was firmly made, and then the Georgia General Assembly adopted as the state song on April 24, 1979. This version of the song is played with a video montage each time that Georgia Public Television goes off the air (now generally only late on Sunday nights, instead of nightly).

The song was used as the theme song to the CBS-TV sitcom "Designing Women", 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.

Cultural significance

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.

The song is referenced in The Beatles' "Back in the USSR", 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 lyrics to Ray Charles' version of this song appear in the Georgia Code under license.

External references

* [ Georgia-state-song web-page]

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