Not every state in the U.S. has its own official song. However, Georgia has an official State Song, and that song has an incredible history.
In 1930, Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics) created a song about Hoagy’s sister. Her name was “Georgia.” (Let’s not forget that before the state of Georgia, the word “Georgia” was commonly used as a woman’s name. It is a feminine form of the name “George.”) The name of the song was “Georgia on my Mind.”
In other words, Stuart Gorrell was in LOVE with Georgia Carmichael and wrote a song about how he was always thinking about her.
However, it was another man – a musical genius and legend named Ray Charles – who made the song very famous in 1960 when he recorded it. Ray Charles was born in the state of Georgia and many people actually thought he wrote the song. As a result, there has been a common belief that the song is about the STATE of Georgia, not a person named Georgia Carmichael.
For many years, Ray Charles did not perform concerts in Georgia because of the racial discrimination there. However, things improved enough that by 1979, Ray Charles began performing there again, and even sang the song “Georgia on my Mind” before the members of the Georgia General Assembly (the main legislative/governmental body in the state).
Shortly after, the General Assembly voted to make “Georgia on my Mind” the state song of Georgia. It is a beautiful song and we hope you will listen to it! Here is the original video of Ray Charles singing it to the General Assembly.