Thursday, June 15, 2017

Songoftheday 6/15/17 - Other arms reach out to me other eyes smile tenderly, still in peaceful dreams I see the road leads back to you...

"Georgia On My Mind" - Michael Bolton
from the album Soul Provider (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #36 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 2

Today's song of the day is from singer/songwriter Michael Bolton, whose 1989 album Soul Provider had boosted his career to A-list level, scoring four big pop hits already with the title track, "When I'm Back On My Feet Again", "How Can We Be Lovers", and the #1 Grammy-winning version of his own "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You". The fifth and final single from the album would be a cover of an old standard that ended up being the state song for its namesake. "Georgia On My Mind", written by Stuart Gorrell and bandleader Hoagy Carmichael, first came about in 1930, and recorded by Carmichael's band...


Thirty years later, R&B/blues legend Ray Charles recorded the version regarded by most as the "definitive" which became his first #1 pop hit in 1960 from his The Genius Hits The Road album...


Bolton's take, while emulating Charles' tempo and delivery, is definitely watered down, but to the woman and kids hearing this possibly for the first time in their lives, he could do no wrong. To drive home the whitening, Kenny G appears on here to play saxophone...


Bolton's rendition of "Georgia On My Mind" became the fifth top-40 pop hit from Soul Provider in October of 1990. The single also climbed to #6 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart. Internationally, the record reached the top-40 in Canada (#16), Ireland (#29), and New Zealand (#38), and slipped on to the British chart at #94.

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Here's Michael back on 1989 performing the song live on European TV...


Many, many other artists have covered the song through the years, many with much success. Way back a year after Carmichael's original, bandleader Frankie Trumbauer and a pre-Billboard top ten hit with the song...


Gene Krupa and his band brought the classic into the swing era as his recording went to #18 on the pre-rock era Billboard list, with Anita O'Day providing the vocals...


In 1966, the Righteous Brothers released "Georgia" as a single, and it was a minor pop hit at #62...


Two years later, jazz great Wes Montgomery's instrumental version of the song snuck on the pop chart at #91, and got to #34 on the Adult Contemporary radio list...


Probably the best known version besides Ray Charles' was that done by country music icon Willie Nelson, who topped the genre chart in 1978 with his cover that went to #84 on the pop chart and #24 Adult Contemporary as well...


Lastly, here's Michael performing the classic with Ray Charles for a tribute concert...


Up tomorrow: Rapper with the funny pants gets down on his knees.


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