Saturday, October 19, 2013

Atlanta & Georgia in Song

A friend of mine earlier this morning, only minutes ago actually, posted a song titled Oh Atlanta to his Facebook timeline. It got me to thinking...and researching. Turns out, there are a LOT of songs about Atlanta and Georgia out there!

The song posted by John B. (a musician with Front Porch Session Players), Oh Atlanta, was performed by Alison Krauss & Union Station. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I didn't know there was a song titled Oh Atlanta, an—truth be told—when I read it, I could think of nothing but the Canadian national anthem. 

But then I listened...

Well, listening to Alison sing Oh Atlanta got me to thinking...then taking a stroll down Memory Lane, which brought me to Ray Charles.

I had the distinct pleasure of hearing Ray Charles perform Georgia On My Mind in Piedmont Park quite a number of years ago. He was giving a concert in the Park and when Georgia On My Mind started, a friend and I made our way to the front of the stage...Ray was such a brilliant performer! 

Watch the 2004 film Ray if you'd like to learn more about his life, and see a brilliant Oscar-winning film!

Here's a rendition of Georgia On My Mind, which also happens to be our official State Song...

Just for fun, I'm going to share with you another rendition of Georgia On My Mind performed by a brilliant remix artist that I follow on YouTube...Cee-Roo.

Well, it's early and I'm totally awake—and totally enthralled at this point—so I kept on going. A quick search on songs about Georgia returned the 1972 hit The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, a song that I totally remember and enjoyed as a kid.

What I didn't know was that the song was originally performed by Vicki Lawrence—who I totally loved in The Carol Burnett Show, as well as in the spin-off Mama's Family. And then there's Julia's "dialogue" in Designing Women when she was defending her sister..."so you will know, and your children will some day the night...the lights...went out in Geor-gia!"

Looking for more songs about Georgia, I came across The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band. Well...although my music tastes have changed over the years, I was raised on country and I still enjoy that music I grew up with, including this song. And truthfully, listening to it just then, I found myself tapping my foot...!

You may know that Gladys Knight, a Georgia native, recently performed at the Fox Theatre, here in Atlanta. Well, way back in the early 1970s, Gladys Knight & the Pips performed Midnight Train to Georgia, another one I remember from childhood.

I'm all of a sudden beyond surprised that I know so many songs about Georgia from my childhood. I have to wonder if that had any influence on my eventually moving here.

Another one that I remember from childhood is Rainy Night in Georgia by Brooks Benton, but the version I recall was by Conway Twitty, and the song was covered by Ray Charles, as well. 

This song was one of the first ones I remember that took me to a place inside myself...if always made me reflect. 

And of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the The B-52s, out of Athens, Georgia, who in their song Love Shack sing the line "Heading down the Atlanta highway..."

I had the great pleasure of seeing The B-52s perform in Atlanta a number of years ago here in Atlanta, as they still do, and you should have seen the crowd during this song!

Another Atlanta band that I absolutely love is the Indigo Girls. They started performing together as "Indigo Girls" in high school in Decatur and later attended Emory University and performed at an Emory Village bar, not far from where I live now. 

I got to meet them at a party more than 20 years ago...very cool people. They still perform in Atlanta today, which also is super cool. 

I'll finish up this post with one of my all time favorite Indigo Girls songs, Galileo.

There are dozens more songs out there about Atlanta and Georgia. I encourage you to explore...and listen.

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