Georgia On My Mind


Georgia On My Mind (m. Hoagy Carmichael, w. Stuart Gorrell)

hoagy-carmichael-2-f15From Wikipedia (excerpts):
“Georgia On My Mind”…became the official state song of the State of Georgia in 1979.[1]Gorrell wrote the lyrics for Hoagy’s sister, Georgia Carmichael [1]. However, the lyrics of the song are ambiguous enough to refer either to the state or to a woman named “Georgia”. Carmichael’s 1965 autobiography, Sometimes I Wonder, records the origin: a friend, saxophonist and bandleader Frankie Trumbauer, suggested: “Why don’t you write a song called ‘Georgia?’ Nobody lost much writing about the South.” Thus, the song is universally believed to have been written about the state.

The song was first recorded on September 15, 1930, in New York by Hoagy Carmichael and His Orchestra with Bix Beiderbecke on muted cornet and Hoagy Carmichael on vocals. The recording was part of Beiderbecke’s last recording session. The recording was released as Victor 23013 with “One Night in Havana”.

Ray Charles, a native of Georgia, recorded it in 1960 on the album The Genius Hits the Road. It became Georgia’s state song in 1979.


Hoagy Carmichael assembled an all-star band for the original recording of the song, 1930 — Credited as Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra, the band included

Bix Beiderbecke (Cornet)
Ray Lodwig (Trumpet)
Jack Teagarden, Boyce Cullen (Trombone)
Jimmy Dorsey (Clarinet, Alto Sax)
Arnold Brilhart (Alto Sax)
Min Leibrook (BSX)
Irving Brodsky (piano)
Eddie Lang (guitar)
Gene Krupa (drums)
Joe Venuti (violin)
Hoagy Carmichael (vocal)

Bix plays the cornet solo at 1:30


Mildred Bailey with Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra, featuring Matt Malneck on violin, 1931 – Jazzstandards reports that Bailey had a hit in 1932 with a recording by Matt Malneck and his Orchestra. I haven’t found that recording, unless it’s the same one with different credits.

From Mildred Bailey’s bio at Wikipedia:

Born as Mildred Rinker in Tekoa, Washington, Bailey retained the last name of her first husband, Ted Bailey, when she moved to Seattle to bolster her singing career. With the help of her second husband, Benny Stafford, she became an established blues and jazz singer on the West Coast. According to Gary Giddins’ book Bing Crosby – A Pocketful of Dreams – The Early Years 1903-1940, in 1925 she secured work for her brother, Al Rinker and his partner Bing Crosby. Giddins further states that Crosby first heard of Louis Armstrong and other Chicago black jazz records from Bailey’s own record collection. Crosby helped Bailey in turn by introducing her to Paul Whiteman. She sang with Paul Whiteman’s band from 1929 to 1933 (Whiteman had a popular radio program and when Bailey debuted with her version of “Moaning Low” in 1929, public reaction was immediate, although she did not start recording with Whiteman until late 1931).


Red Mackenzie and His Celestial Beings, recorded 30 June 1931


Django Reinhardt et le Quintette du Hot Club de France – recorded in Paris, 15 October, 1936

Stéphane Grappelli (violin)
Django Reinhardt (guitar solo)
Joseph Reinhardt (guitar)
Pierre “Baro” Ferret (guitar)
Louis Vola (bass)
Freddy Taylor (vocal)


Billie Holiday – recorded in her first session of 1941 – Session #43 New York, 21 March 1941, Eddie Heywood and his Orchestra (OKeh) — Shad Collins (tp) Leslie Johnakins, Eddie Barefield (as) Lester Young (ts) Eddie Heywood (p) John Collins (g) Ted Sturgis (b) Kenny Clarke (d) Billie Holiday (v)

two takes:



Orrin Tucker & his Orchestra, vocal: Orrin Tucker & the Bodyguards — recorded in NYC on 7 February 1941; issued on Columbia 36049, c/w “Absence Make the Heart Grow Fonder”


Ray Charles

A 1960 recording by Ray Charles won two Grammy awards. Nineteen years later it was adopted as Georgia’s state song. In the notes of Charles’ 1997 box set Genius & Soul he describes how he came to record the song:

“Had me a driver who’d always hear me humming Georgia On My Mind. Cat said, ‘You hum it so much, why don’t you record it?’ I said, ‘’cause I don’t even know the words.”’

ABC-Paramount label single 45-10135, b/w Carry Me Back to Old Virginny (J.A. Bland), issued August 1960; also released as track #2 of the album The Genius Hits the Road, September 1960.


(below) Live, undated, but apparently from the early 1960s


(below) The Midnight Special, 1976


Willie Nelson chose the song as the second track for his hugely successful Stardust album. Released in 1978, the album remained on the country charts until 1988. The first track was Carmichael’s Stardust. Nelson’s Georgia on My Mind was a #1 country hit in ’78, as was Blue Skies (Irving Berlin) the third track on the album.

Willie Nelson and Ray Charles – live, 1986


Manhattan Jazz Orchestra –  performance date unknown, posted 17 August 2009

Dave Matthews and Friends, this time the Trombone section of the MJO take on the Hoagy Carmichael favourite arranged by Dave. Jim Pugh, Larry Farrel, Dave Taylor and special guest Conrad Herwig are the Trombones. With Chip Jackson Bass, Terry Silverlight Drums and Dave at the Piano




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. aristide
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 12:23:41

    don’t you know django reinhardt’s version ? the singer is freddy taylor , it is so good !
    and i think it’s only called ” georgia ”
    thanks from france for your good site



  2. doc
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 15:07:13

    Thanks aristide, This feature was created late last Spring while I was in a down phase, and considering closing the site. It has been wanting additional recordings for a long time. I’ve included the Django & QHCF recording, replaced a few others which had been disabled, and added a couple more. I’ll probably expand this with a few more versions next time around. – Jim



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