And there is perhaps no song that stirs up thoughts of and yearning for home more than "Georgia On My Mind."
It was made the official State Song of Georgia in 1979.
But whether you live in Georgia, U.S.A., are wanting to get "Back in the U.S.S.R." ("that Georgia's always on my my my mind...") or some other "Georgia," likely this song brings to mind memories of "back home."
Ironically, the 1930 Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics) collaboration wasn't written about a PLACE at all. It was written for Carmichael's sister, Georgia.
"Georgia On My Mind" became a #1 hit in 1960, thanks to what many feel is the definitive recording of the song by Ray Charles. Willie Nelson is also closely associated with Carmichael Songs, thanks to his 1978 Grammy-winning Stardust album. (Nelson won the 1979 Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for "Georgia On My Mind" from Stardust.)
The man behind the music of "Georgia," Hoagland Howard "Hoagy" Carmichael (1899-1981) wrote many now-famous "standards" including the legendary "Stardust" and the ubiquitous "learning to play" duet, "Heart and Soul."
Carmichael, blessed with classic good looks, is said to have inspired the handsome ruggedness of the James Bond 007 character created by author Ian Fleming.
He appeared in a number of movies, generally as a "piano man," most memorably, To Have and Have Not with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
Carmichael, a native of Indiana, won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1952 with "In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening." He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.
Georgia on My Mind Lyrics (Words and Music by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell)
Note: Not unlike Rodgers and Hart's "My Funny Valentine," "Georgia" begins with a prelude that is almost always ommitted in performances and recordings.
Melodies bring memories That linger in my heart Make me think of Georgia Why did we ever part? Some sweet day when blossoms fall And all the world's a song I'll go back to Georgia 'Cause that's where I belong.
Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.
Georgia, Georgia, a song of you Comes as sweet and clear as moonlight through the pines.
Other arms reach out to me Other eyes smile tenderly Still in peaceful dreams I see The road leads back to you.
Georgia, Georgia, no peace I find Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.