“Georgia on My Mind“ is a 1930 song written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell…..while being first recorded that year….as It has often been associated with Ray Charles….who was a native of the state of Georgia in the USA….who recorded it for his 1960 album The Genius Hits the Road. In 1979, the State of Georgia designated it the official state song.
It has been asserted that Hoagy Carmichael wrote the song about his sister, Georgia…..but Carmichael wrote in his second autobiography Sometimes I Wonder that saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer told him he should write a song about the state of Georgia….and he jokingly volunteered the first two words, “Georgia, Georgia…”….which Carmichael ended up using while working on the song with his roommate, Stuart Gorrell, who wrote the lyrics…..and even though Gorrell’s name was absent from the copyright…..Carmichael sent him royalty checks anyway.
Ray Charles recorded a version that went to # 1 on the Billboard magazine Hot 100….then in 1977, Robert Grossman, James Picker and Craig Whitaker created a clay animation short film, Jimmy The C, in which U.S. President Jimmy Carter sings Georgia On My Mind, in Ray Charles’ version…..wherein 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….Ray Charles performed the song before the Georgia General Assembly ….who after his performance adopted it as the state song on April 24.
In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine named the Ray Charles version of “Georgia on My Mind” the 44th greatest song of all time…..and in this video seen herewith….Brother Ray performs this great song live on the stage at Austin City Limits in 1980.