Willie Nelson continues to gain further enhanced reputation in country music as he records more songs with the brand of his own musical style. Back on June 10, 1978, Willie created another significant event. His song, “Georgia on my Mind” landed on the top of the chart. The song was a single from his ever distinguished album “Stardust” that has sold over five million copies! The album received a “quintuple platinum” certification from NARAS in 2002.
“Stardust” is a collection of Nelson’s all-time favorite songs, most of which were written before 1950. At first, the executives of Columbia Records resisted Willie’s concept. They felt he should come up with another new material. But, Willie was positive it is a perfect way to gain a larger audience. He envisioned younger fans to treat the classic songs like they were new, and the older listeners would appreciate hearing some of their longtime favorites.
Willie proved himself right with the selling records of the album. In fact, it became a mainstay on the Billboard country album chart for an incredible 540 weeks. This is equal to 10 years! In 2002, Grammy Hall of Fame officially listed it on “Class of 2015.”
Georgia on my Mind
Hoagy Carmichael penned “Georgia on my Mind” in 1930. The song yielded Willie Nelson’s fifth number one single and it also won him a Grammy Award as “Best Male Country Vocal Performance”. The majority would agree that he deserves the award because of his distinct and plaintive performance of the song. Critics would consider it as one of the finest version Willie ever recorded. A masterstroke of emotional understatement, so to speak.
Various artists such as Frankie Trumbauer and Ray Charles also covered the song, but Willie’s version generated a revived interest to the song’s author.
Interestingly, shortly after his version became a big hit, a campaign was launched to get “Georgia on my Mind” designated as the official state song of Georgia. In 1979, the request was legally granted. Nelson’s version had further triggered renewed interest in classical songs.