Georgia on My Mind Background

In this video Jeff Peterson plays his arrangement of the popular jazz standard “Georgia on My Mind” for fingerstyle ukulele. “Georgia on My Mind” was written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell in 1930. But the song really came into popularity in 1960 when Ray Charles first recorded it.

According to Gorrell in a letter to the Bremen Enquirer in 1961,

Hoagy Carmichael and I, in a third floor apartment overlooking 52nd Street, with cold feet and warm hearts, looked out the window and, not liking what we saw, turned our thoughts to the pleasant Southland. Thus was born a hauntingly sweet song.

Whether “Georgia” referred to a girl or the state is a question left unanswered.

Georgia on My Mind for Fingerstyle Ukulele

Because this tune is already a “hauntingly sweet song” it lends itself naturally to the sweet tones of the ukulele. Jeff’s arrangement keeps the melody intact throughout. But he incorporates fun jazz chord substitutions and a lot of improvisation along the way. Here we have bluesy rhythms and chord changes within a song structure that repeats but is different each time the melody reappears.

Jazz for Fingerstyle Ukulele

This song is one of many jazz tunes Jeff has been arranging and including for members at Ukulele Corner Academy. In fact, we have a whole growing library of jazz songs, in addition to our classical, Hawaiian, and popular arrangements libraries. If you’d like to learn this arrangement and many others like it, we’d encourage you to join Ukulele Corner Academy today!