“Georgia on My Mind“ is a 1930 song written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell…..which was first recorded that year…..as the song 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.
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….when he jokingly volunteered the first two words, “Georgia, Georgia…”, which Carmichael ended up using while working on the song with his roommate and friend Stuart Gorrell…. who wrote the lyrics…..and whose name was absent from the copyright….but Carmichael sent him royalty checks anyway. Carmichael recorded “Georgia on My Mind” with Bix Beiderbecke on cornet, Eddie Lang on guitar, Joe Venuti on violin, Jimmy Dorsey on clarinet and Charles Winters on double bass in September 15, 1930, in New York City. This was part of Beiderbecke’s last recording session…..when Frankie Trumbauer had the first hit recording in 1931 when it reached the top ten on the charts.
Ray Charles recorded a version that went to # 1 on the Billboard magazine Hot 100…..and in 1977, Robert Grossman, James Picker and Craig Whitaker created a clay animation short called Jimmy The C….in which U.S. President Jimmy Carter sings Georgia On My Mind in Ray Charles’ version. 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….Brother Ray 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 the Ray Charles version of “Georgia on My Mind” the 44th greatest song of all time.