It has been asserted that Hoagy Carmichael wrote the song about his sister, Georgia. Frankie Trumbauer had the first hit recording in 1931 when it reached the top ten on the charts. Ray Charles, a native of Georgia, recorded a version that went to No. 1 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’. 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’, Ray Charles 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’. Willie Nelson’s recording of the song in 1978 as a single also peaked at Number 1. A year later, Nelson won a ‘Grammy Award’ for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version.
The State of Georgia is sandwiched between the States of Alabama and South Carolina (to its east and west) with the State of Tennessee to its north and the State of Florida to its south. I once managed to get to see a small part of the State of Kentucky which is a couple of States north and had provisionally planned to visit Georgia but managed to get side-tracked after popping into a haberdashery store to see if I could get a zip repair on a pair of trousers.
The manageress of the haberdashery was a 26-year-old divorcee whose passion for making money was pushed into second place when it came to making love with an Irishman who had a Yorkshire accent.
The upshot was that Annabelle shut up shop early that day and after she had cooked us a hearty supper (she obviously didn’t want to be seen as being stingy in the hospitality department), she insisted I stay overnight and resume my travels the following morning.
I never did manage to make the trip to Georgia as initially planned. For the sake of brevity and decency, let’s say that I had other things more tempting than Georgia ‘on my mind’. I stopped over at Annabelle’s house for the next three days. She was obviously taken with me as she shut up her store two hours earlier (at three pm) over the following three afternoons, and showed me much more of what Kentucky had to offer than any chance traveller/passer could possibly dream of.
Love and peace Bill xxx