The Day Ray Charles Scored His First Chart Topper
But Ray's biggest impact in pop music was yet to come. On this day in 1960, he scored the first of three #1 singles when his bluesy version of Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia on My Mind" topped Billboard's Hot 100. Although it only lasted in the #1 spot for one week ("Stay" by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs bumped it off), Ray's recording was already on its way to becoming one of the most famous songs of all time.
"Georgia on My Mind" was written by Carmichael and lyricist Stuart Gorrell in 1930. The inspiration for the words actually wasn't the state of Georgia, but Hoagy's sister Georgia Carmichael. But the song was ambiguous enough to refer to either a person or the state. In fact, in Carmichael's 1965 autobiography he remembers that his friend and bandleader Frankie Trumbauer suggested "Why don't you write a song called 'Georgia'? Nobody lost much writing about the South." more on this story
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