Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Georgia on My Mind

Co-written and first recorded by Hoagy Carmichael & His Orchestra (1930).
Hit versions by Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra (1931), Ray Charles (US #1/R&B #3/UK #24 1960).
Also recorded by The Band (1976).

From the wiki: “Written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics). Gorrell wrote the lyrics for Hoagy’s sister, Georgia Carmichael. However, the lyrics of the song are ambiguous enough to refer either to a woman named ‘Georgia’ or to the state of 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 in September, 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.”

“Frankie Trumbauer would have the first major hit recording in 1931, when his recording made the Top 10 on the charts. (It was Trumbauer who had suggested that Carmichael compose the song.)

“It was not until Ray Charles’ 1960 recording on The Genius Hits the Road that the song became a major hit, reaching the #1 spot for one week in November 1960 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“The song was a standard at performances by Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks in the late 1950s and early 1960s, where it was sung by pianist Richard Manuel. When The Hawks split off on their own and became The Band, they kept the song as part of their repertoire. They recorded a studio version of the song for Jimmy Carter’s presidential bid in 1976, which was released as a single that year as well as on their 1977 album Islands.”

Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra, “Georgia on My Mind” (1931):

Ray Charles, “Georgia on My Mind” (1960):

The Band, “Georgia on My Mind” (1976):

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