Few songs have enetered the popular lexicon and stayed there as long as Georgia. 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, Hoagy Carmichael himself contradicted this view with his recounting of the origin of the song in his second autobiography Sometimes I Wonder. Carmichael 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 at all of his sister in his telling of the song's genesis. In 2014, the recording was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame. people of our time."
The song has been recorded by a plethora of artists but is most associated with 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 (the state legislature). After this performance, the connection to the state was firmly made, and the Assembly adopted it as the state song on April 24.
For my recording of the tune I used the Willie Nelson arrangement that features a mean harmonica solo.
-Brian K. Forrest