The southern US state of Georgia is rich in musical history. R&B icon Ray Charles was born there. Atlanta has long been a hub for pioneering rappers like Jermaine Dupree. Country artists like Jason Aldean call the state home despite their ties to Nashville.
From top ten popular hits like ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ to party tracks like ‘Welcome to Atlanta,’ here’s a multi-genre playlist featuring songs about Georgia.
Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight & the Pips
Songwriter Jim Weatherly was close with actor Lee Majors, who, in the ’70s, was in a relationship with Farrah Fawcett. After Weatherly heard one of the couple’s phone calls, he was inspired to write a song ‘Midnight Plane to Houston’ after hearing Fawcett say that’s where she was going to go while they took a break. When execs heard it, they changed it to ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ to give it more of an R&B vibe, and Gladys Knight & the Pips released it in ’73.
Related: Hear this song on our list of the best soul songs.
The Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels Band
Blistering fiddle and a rolling beat back the story of Johnny and his duel with the devil. Country songwriter Charlie Daniels scored a big hit with ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia,’ a play on the fabled tale of blues musician Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil to become a guitar impresario. In the song, Johnny beats the devil in a fiddling contest so he can keep his soul.
Related: Why read a book when you can listen to the best storytelling songs?
Georgia on My Mind – Ray Charles
Many R&B artists have covered this 1930s Hoagy Carmichael tune, but Ray Charles’ rendition stands out from the pack. The jazzy song has long been a tribute to the state of Georgia, and Charles was from there himself. Carmichaels’ version was one of his favorites, and his chauffeur finally convinced him to cut the song after listening to him sing it in the backseat every time he drove him somewhere.
Recommended: Our selection of Ray Charles songs.
Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson and Jim McBride
Spanning both Georgia and Alabama, the Chattahoochee river starts in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Country star Alan Jackson’s feel-good ‘Chattahoochee’ reminisces on a life growing up by the river. Anyone from a small town surrounded by water can relate to the ’90s country track. The song speaks to wisdom learned while growing up on the Chattahoochee, which is “a lot about living, and a little about love.”
Related: Enjoy this list of the best songs that bring back memories.
Highway 20 Ride – Zac Brown Band
Songwriter Wyatt Durrette has collaborated with frontman Zac Brown for many of his band’s hit singles. For this collaboration, Durrette began working on it before he teamed up with Brown. He was inspired to write ‘Highway 20 Ride’ while making the regular trip through Georgia and South Carolina (taking Highway 20) so he could pick up and drop off his son to his mother, whom he was separated from.
Related: Hear similar songs on our divorce songs playlist.
Meet in the Middle – Diamond Rio
“We meet in the middle beneath that old Georgia pine.” Southern music is full of lessons, especially when it comes to the trials of romantic relationships. Diamond Rio’s ‘Meet in the Middle’ tackles compromises by creatively describing how two partners have become closer and closer over the years through love and hard work. The ’91 single was their first, and it went to number one.
Related: This song features on our staying together songs list.
The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia – Reba McEntire
Originally recorded by actress Vicki Lawrence in the early ’70s, country icon Reba McEntire released her own version of ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ in 1991. The eerie tale tells the story of Andy, whose wife has cheated on him. When he confronts the two at his house, he finds them dead, and he’s arrested for the crime. Towards the end of the tune, the protagonist reveals that she’s Andy’s sister and she is the actual killer.
Related: Listen to more cheater songs.
Welcome to Atlanta – Jermaine Dupri
An early 2000s rap hit, Jermaine Dupri’s original version of ‘Welcome to Atlanta’ features a guest appearance by Ludacris. Everyone loved the song so much, Dupris made an official “Coast to Coast” remix featuring heavy players in the rap game, including Snoop Dogg, P. Diddy, and Murphy Lee.
Georgia Peaches – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Not only is Georgia’s official state fruit the peach, but Peachtree Street is a popular road in the Atlanta area. With southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song ‘Georgia Peaches,’ they incorporate a tried-and-true double entendre. They use peaches as a euphemism to describe the beautiful women they see walking down Peachtree Street.
Related: These peach songs will have you feeling peachy!
Love Shack – The B-52’s
A late-’80s hit, ‘Love Shack’ is a metaphorical representation of philosophy. The B-52’s often commented on it being a “state of mind” where all are welcome. The track was inspired by a popular hangout spot near the University of Georgia in Athens. The band would often party at the Hawaiian Ha-Le, an eclectic club that attracted all walks of life.
Related: Check out more good sing along songs.
Georgia Peaches – Lauren Alaina
“It don’t matter where you’re from. Come on in and have some fun.” Several Nashville songwriters got together to write this track for Lauren Alaina, who hails from the southern state of Georgia. Mallary Hope, Blair Daly, and Rachel Proctor penned the easy-to-dance-to tune and focused on the catchy line “Ain’t nothing sweeter than us Georgia peaches.”
Georgia Rain – Trisha Yearwood
Appearing on Trisha Yearwood’s album Jasper County, located in Georgia, she changed the lyrics from ‘A Gust of Rain’ to ‘Georgia Rain’ when she decided to cut the track penned by Ed Hill and Karyn Rochelle. Yearwood’s husband, fellow country star Garth Brooks, sings backup as the lyrics paint the picture of a complicated relationship from the past as it’s compared to the weather and terrain of small-town Georgia.
Related: You’ll need a raincoat when you listen to the best raining songs.
The Moon Over Georgia – Shenandoah
“She took the moon over Georgia.” Written by Mark Narmore and recorded by ’80s country group Shenandoah, their song ‘Moon Over Georgia’ appears on their ’91 album Extra Mile. The classic country song creatively uses the tagline to represent the protagonist’s love interest picking a poor boy who offered her the moon over a rich man who could offer her all of Georgia.
Related: Enjoy a peaceful night with our playlist of songs about moons.
She’s So Georgia – Jon Langston
This modern country track features Jon Langston singing about a classic southern girl who calls Georgia her home. From her “legs taller than the pines” and her “screaming ‘Go Dogs!’ on a Saturday night,” Langston’s lyrics not only pay tribute to the southern women of Georgia but celebrates the pride many have who are from there as well.
Georgia Clay – Josh Kelley
An autobiographical track from his debut album by the same name, Josh Kelley wrote ‘Georgia Clay’ with his brother Charles, who fronts country group Lady A alongside Hillary Scott. Kelley reminisces about growing up with his brother and how those memories never fade with the hook, “Good old days don’t wash away, just like that Georgia Clay.”
ATLiens – OutKast
In 1996 hip-hop group OutKast released their second album, ATLiens, with a single by the same name appearing on the track listing. Including Atlanta’s reputation for “hustle culture” as one of its main themes, the group also included an overall outer space theme in the mix. The album represented one of OutKast’s early efforts to produce their own tracks instead of using a mainstream studio.
Related: Blast off to our list of the best songs about outer space.
Ramblin’ Man – The Allman Brothers Band
The Allman Brothers Band hit ‘Ramblin’ Man’ is a nod to the travelin’ man who can’t be tied down and contains lyrics inspired by guitarist and bandmate Dickey Betts’ time spent in Florida. The song’s creation is rooted in the small town of Macon, Georgia, where the band had a house they all shared while making music. Betts wrote ‘Ramblin’ Man’ in the Macon house, which contains their memorable lyric, “I bet you’re just trying to make a living and doing the best you can.”
Related: Keep the rock vibes going with the top southern rock songs.
Walkin’ Back to Georgia – Jim Croce
The state of Georgia once again represents a complicated romance with Jim Croce’s ‘Walkin’ Back to Georgia.’ The state takes on the characteristics of the woman he loves—but left—as he makes his way back to her. He’s heading towards “that hot, dusty Macon road,” and if she’s still there, he’s going to “settle down” with his “hard lovin’ Georgia girl.”
Rainy Night in Georgia – Brook Benton
Originally written by Louisiana musician Tony Joe White, Brook Benton recorded and released his tune’ Rainy Night in Georgia’ in ’69. The heartbreak song encompasses a down-and-out man with nothing but his suitcase standing in the pounding Georgia rain. Benton himself was very familiar with southern downpours. For years he was a truck driver with a route through Georgia. When it would storm, he would take a break and play his guitar.
Sweet Georgia Brown – Django Reinhardt
A jazzy pop standard from the 1920s, ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ has been around for so long its origin story remains unclear. Though some have stated the song is about a prostitute, others attribute the song to lyricist Ben Bernie, who came up with the concept after hearing that a political representative in Georgia, George Thaddius Brown, named his newborn daughter after the state. Pioneering gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt covered the tune throughout the ’30s.
Why Georgia – John Mayer
“It might be a quarter-life crisis.” Pop singer-songwriter John Mayer tackles Peter Pan Syndrome with his early track ‘Why Georgia.’ After graduating from college, he noticed much of his generation struggling with growing up and attempting to live out some sort of prolonged “adolescence.” A nod to the song’s name, Mayer wrote the hit single while living in Atlanta, contemplating if he should give up music and get out before letting it consume him completely.
Red, White & You – Steven Tyler
Songwriter Levi Hummon had to pinch himself as he sat down in the studio with Aerosmith band leader Steven Tyler to record his patriotic rocker ‘Red, White & You.’ Hummon co-wrote the upbeat number with fellow songwriters Joe Vella and Nathan Barlowe. When Tyler heard the song for the first time, he wanted to cut it immediately. Referring to Georgia natives, the lyrics play out like a love song and celebrate growing up in America.
Related: Here are some good patriotic songs if you love the USA.
Oh, Atlanta – Alison Krauss
Country fiddler Alison Krauss takes this ’79 Bad Company track and puts her gentle, old-timey spin on it. ‘Oh, Atlanta’ once again puts the bustling Georgia city in the spotlight as the song’s protagonist looks back on her time spent there with romantic endearment. As memories flood back to her, she tells listeners, “Oh, Atlanta, I hear you callin’. I’m comin’ back to you one fine day.”
Cedartown, Georgia – Waylon Jennings
A stripped-down recording featuring bassy riffs and a top-end string section lightly contrasting Waylon Jenning’s baritone vocals, his track’ Cedartown, Georgia’ was another step in the opposite direction of the feel-good “Nashville sound” popular in the ’70s. A murder ballad at heart, the single the album is named after tells the story of a man who ends up killing the love of his life after she has a lengthy affair.
Related: Check out our list of songs about affairs and falling in love.
Talk about Georgia – Jason Aldean
A modern country heartbreak song, Jason Aldean’s home state reminds him of the girl who broke his heart with his 2019 effort, ‘Talk about Georgia.’ Other southern location staples are referenced in the song, including Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Daytona Beach, Florida, but nothing can help him forget the girl who drove him wild in Georgia.
Watermelon Crawl – Tracy Byrd
In Tracy Byrd’s country classic ‘Watermelon Crawl,’ the protagonist of the hit single stumbles upon a festival in a small Georgia town. The event features the town’s famous watermelon red wine fest, and the town’s mayor urges festival-goers to stay and do their famous line dance, “the watermelon crawl,” if they’ve imbibed too much instead of trying to drive home.
Related: Find this song on our playlist of good line dancing songs.
Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech – Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Marching Band
“I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer.” Frequently played by the marching band at every Georgia Tech game, this song is the college’s official school song, and it’s been around since 1908. It combines lyrics from vintage drinking songs from both England and Scotland. The song’s instrumentation and structure are modeled after a 1980s song, ‘Son of a Gambolier,’ by Charles Ives.