Sheet music

USA GEORGIA : Georgia State Song
State Song of Georgia
Georgia On My Mind

  • Author: Stuart Graham Steven Gorrell (1901-1963)
  • Composer: Hoagy Carmichael (1899-1981)
  • Adopted: April 24 1979
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  • Further details: STUART GRAHAM STEVEN GORRELL (1901-1963) and HOAGY CARMICHAEL (1899-1981), wrote the song in 1930 almost as a lark, and with the help of some pretty good Scotch. The inspiration was theirs, the booze was borrowed.

    Hoagy Carmichael went to Indiana University, and one of his best college chums was Stuart Gorrell. Hoagy Carmichael was going to be a lawyer and Stuart Gorrell, when not hanging around the local "jazz joint" (called The Book Nook!) had promised someone that he would eventually be a success in the world of business.
    The two of them were together at a party in New York and Hoagy Carmichael played what he had of the "Georgia" music line for Stuart Gorrell and some friends. After the party broke up, the two of them went back to a friend's apartment and worked on the tune throughout the night. Stuart Gorrell wrote what he thought would be a good lyric line on the back of a post card (now displayed in the Carmichael Room at Indiana University) and showed it to Hoagy Carmichael. One can still plainly see the few, but important, changes that Hoagy Carmichael made on that small piece of cardboard to Stuart Gorrell's lyrical scratchings. The song was improved upon, and the lyrics written, in that boozy early morning, and recorded in September 1930 by a band that included Hoagy Carmichael's great friend, Bix Beiderbecke - a recording session that proved to be Bix's last.

    Hoagy Carmichael went on to write many more songs, some of them hits, and Stuart Gorrell kept his promise and became a Vice President at Chase Bank. Stuart Gorrell never tried to write another song lyric, but 'Georgia on my Mind' became a hit after World War II and Hoagy Carmichael, true to his word - although Stuart Gorrell was not legally credited as the lyricist by the music publisher - always sent Stuart Gorrell a cheque for what would have been his share of royalty. The royalty income from that song is substantial and, after Stuart Gorrell died, the income put his daughter through college.

    Georgia also has an official state waltz, 'Our Georgia' (adopted in 1951).