Sweet Georgia Brown

Songfacts®:

  • This is famous as the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, who officially adopted it in 1952. They use it for their "Magic Circles" when the players stand in a circle and pass around the ball, displaying their impressive techniques and dexterity.
  • This was written in the 1920s by Maceo Pinkard and Ken Casey. It was popularized by the big bandleader Ben Bernie in the 1920s, and he was given a co-writer credit for recording it.
  • The most famous version, with whistling and bone-cracking, was a 1949 instrumental recorded by Brother Bones & His Shadows. This is the version used by the Harlem Globetrotters.
  • The original version had lyrics that were about a black prostitute. Many people and groups have covered this with lyrics, including Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead, and the lyrics seem to vary by cover. The Beatles' version contains the line "In Liverpool she even dared to criticize the Beatles' hair with their whole fan club standing there." The Grateful Dead only performed their version live. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Crystal - Springfield, MO, for all above
  • This song was a showstopper in the 1976 Broadway musical Bubbling Brown Sugar, where it was performed by Vivian Reed (who earned a Tony nomination for the role; the production was also nominated for Best Musical). The show lasted just one year on Broadway, but continued on as a touring production. For three years, Bettye LaVette played the lead role in this production.

Comments: 6

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 28, 1961, Damita Jo performed "Sweet Georgia Brown" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV weekday-afternoon program, 'American Bandstand'...
    The month before in March of 1961 Mercury Records released "Do What You Want", b/w "Sweet Georgia Brown", neither side made Billboard's Top 100 chart...
    Between 1960 and 1967 the Texas native had four records on the Top 100 chart, "I'll Save The Last Dance For You" {#22 in 1960}, "Keep Your Hands Off of Him" {#75 in 1961}, "I'll Be There" {#12 in 1961}, and "If You Go Away" {#68 in 1967}...
    Damita Jo DeBlanc passed away at the age of 68 on December 25th, 1998...
    May she R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 12th 1962, "Sweet Georgia Brown" by the Carroll Brothers entered Billboard's Top 100 chart for a one week stay, and it peaked right at #100!!!It was their only Top 100 record.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 7th 1927, the Harlem Globetrotters played their first professional basketball game in Hinckley, Illinois...
    Since then, the team has won more than 24,000 games and lost only 345...
    R.I.P. Brother Bones, born Freeman Davis, (1902 - 1974).
  • Harold from Page, AzI have an autographed one sided 78 rpm of this record, i used to listen to this when I was a kid still have the phono and a collection of 78's does any one have an idea what this record might be wort? in excellent shape for age!
  • Winn from Mcminnville, OrClever Beatles :)
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiasaw the Trotters when they came to Australia a few years back....wasn't overly impressed ...seem to miss something...good tune though
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Women Who Rock

Women Who RockSong Writing

Evelyn McDonnell, editor of the book Women Who Rock, on why the Supremes are just as important as Bob Dylan.

Michael Schenker

Michael SchenkerSongwriter Interviews

The Scorpions and UFO guitarist is also a very prolific songwriter - he explains how he writes with his various groups, and why he was so keen to get out of Germany and into England.

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.

Donald Fagen

Donald FagenSongwriter Interviews

Fagen talks about how the Steely Dan songwriting strategy has changed over the years, and explains why you don't hear many covers of their songs.

Kiss

KissFact or Fiction

Kiss is the subject of many outlandish rumors - some of which happen to be true. See if you can spot the fakes.

Artis the Spoonman

Artis the SpoonmanSong Writing

Even before Soundgarden wrote a song about him, Artis was the most famous spoon player of all time. So why has he always been broke?