First Hit #1: November 14, 1960
Here’s something odd, Georgia On My Mind is one of Ray Charles’ most famous songs, and was even used in the most misguided Peugeot commercial of all time – I mean misguided quite literally, as it did feature Charles driving the car in question, and Ray Charles was, well, completely blind – but I cannot find a live version on the Youtube. So, this live performance will have to suffice, for I am lazy and don’t feel like uploading the studio version on my hard drive.
In many ways, this is a very odd song for a Peugeot commercial – though a man who can’t drive is a very odd choice for a car spokesman. It’s quite sad, the tale of a man who can’t quite let go of the woman he loves. Charles infuses every word with a sense of longing and sadness. The man was a performer of little equal, and this song is plenty of evidence for that. While lots of people have surmised that the song is about the state, the way Charles performs it leaves little doubt that it’s about a person, and a person lost in spite of his best efforts. The lyrics are lightly ambiguous, but Charles strips away the ambiguity with the power of his voice. That performance elevates it well above what it might have been otherwise. It also makes it a very unorthodox choice for selling a convertible automobile.
That Peugeot ad: