Stuart Gorrell is never spoken of, and yet he co-wrote a song that has become a truly unforgettable standard, recorded by Ray Charles famously, and by Billie Holiday less famously (but much better in my opinion). True, Gorrell did nothing else of note apart from co-writing this song, but he deserves recognition. He was Hoagy Carmichael's roommate, and in 1930 he wrote the now famous lyrics to "Georgia On My Mind" for Carmichal's sister, Georgia Carmichael. Hoagy Carmichael then wrote his beautiful melody to Gorrell's words, and recorded an excellent version of it featuring an all-star orchestra featuring, among others, Bix Beiderbecke and Joe Venuti. We can't expect Stuart Gorrell to become a legend, but he did what he did, and there was plenty to be proud of.
StuartGorrell was a roommate and fraternity brother of Hoagy Carmichael at Indiana University.
He and Carmichael were close friends, and both were living in New York when Hoagy was writing “Georgia on My Mind.” It was Gorrell who suggested that Carmichael write a song about Georgia, and he helped Hoagy with the lyrics to the tune, published in 1930.
According to Carmichael, Gorrell also suggested the title for the song as well as for “Star Dust.” But apparently this was the extent of Gorrell’s involvement in songwriting.
Hoagy Carmichael was going to be a lawyer and StuartGorrell, when not hanging around the local "jazz joint" (called The Book Nook!) had promised someone that he would eventually be a success in the world of business.
StuartGorrell wrote what he thought would be a good lyric line on the back of a post card (now displayed in the Carmichael Room at Indiana University) and showed it to Hoagy Carmichael.
The royalty income from that song is substantial and, after StuartGorrell died, the income put his daughter through college.
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