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Explore Georgia’s rich music history

From blues and soul to classical and country—our Spotify playlists feature 130+ songs written and performed by Georgians.

Joe South

Joe South

Musician Joe South created the country soul genre in the 1960s. His songs were performed by major country and rock-and-roll singers and groups in the 1960s and 1970s.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Joe South

Joe South

Songwriter and musician Joe South won two Grammy Awards for his hit song "Games People Play" in 1969. While working as a studio musician in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, South also played on recordings by such legendary performers as Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Marty Robbins, and Simon and Garfunkel.

Image from Capitol Records

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South, Lowery, and Roe

South, Lowery, and Roe

Bill Lowery (center), a legend of the Atlanta popular music scene, stands with Joe South (left) and Tommy Roe. Lowery managed the career of South, an Atlanta songwriter and singer, during the 1960s and 1970s. Roe, also an Atlanta native, recorded the hit song "Dizzy" (1969), which was published by the Lowery Music Company.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Chuck Leavell

Chuck Leavell

Chuck Leavell stands among the longleaf pines on Charlane Plantation, his timber farm and hunting preserve in Twiggs County. Leavell and his wife, Rose, have received state and national awards recognizing their efforts in conservation.

Chuck Leavell

Chuck Leavell

Pianist Chuck Leavell, a resident of Twiggs County since the early 1980s, has played with such notable acts as the Allman Brothers Band and the Rolling Stones. Inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2004, Leavell has also released several solo albums.

Duane Allman

Duane Allman

Duane Allman was the guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, which he formed with his younger brother, Gregg, in 1969. The band released its first album on Capricorn Records, a label based in Macon. Allman died in 1971 after being injured in a motorcycle accident.

Duane Allman: An Anthology

Duane Allman: An Anthology

The year after guitarist Duane Allman's death in Macon, Capricorn Records released the double-album collection Duane Allman: An Anthology (1972). Allman was an original member of the successful Macon-based Allman Brothers Band.

Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)

Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968)

Gram Parsons's work on the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1968) earned critical success and increased popularity for the Byrds, but it turned out to be the only album Parsons would record with the band.

Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons's influence on other musicians stems from his innovative fusion of the country and rock genres. Though he died young in the early 1970s, Parsons left behind a body of work that continues to earn the admiration of contemporary musicians.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris

Vocalist Emmylou Harris recorded two albums with Gram Parsons: GP (1973) and Grievous Angel (1974). Between the releases of these two records, Harris toured with Parsons's Fallen Angels band.

Photograph copyright Geoff Gibbs

Allman Brothers Band (1969)

Allman Brothers Band (1969)

The Allman Brothers Band recorded its first album in New York in August 1969, just five months after the band debuted in Jacksonville, Florida.

Original Allman Brothers Band

Original Allman Brothers Band

The original Allman Brothers Band formed in Florida in 1969 and moved to Macon later that same year. Although two of the original band members died in separate motorcycle accidents during the early 1970s, and several other musicians have joined and left over the years, the band continues to tour.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Allman Brothers Band

Allman Brothers Band

Members of the Macon-based Allman Brothers Band pose for a publicity photo in 1992. From left to right, Jaimoe Johanson, Allen Woody, Dickey Betts, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes, Marc Quinones, and Butch Trucks.

Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries, Georgia Music Hall of Fame Collection.

Little Richard Penniman

Little Richard Penniman

Little Richard Penniman, known as "the Georgia Peach," claimed to be "the innovator and the architect of rock and roll." From 1956 to 1957 he recorded a string of hits before renouncing show business to enter the seminary. He returned to the stage in 1962 and continued to perform into his seventies. In 1986 Little Richard was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Image from Wikimedia

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Little Richard Penniman

Little Richard Penniman

Little Richard Penniman, a Macon native, is credited with being one of the first rock stars. He began his musical career as a young boy in a family gospel act, joined a minstrel show at the age of fifteen, and performed rhythm and blues before his 1956 hit "Tutti Fruitti" crossed over to the pop charts.

Photograph by xrayspx

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The B-52’s

The B-52’s

The B-52's (clockwise from top left: Keith Strickland, Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider, and Cindy Wilson) formed in the late 1970s and remain one of Athens's best-known bands.

Image from A. Currell

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The B-52’s

The B-52’s

The B-52's (from left: Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, Kate Pierson, Ricky Wilson, and Cindy Wilson) became a commercial and critical success with their first album, The B-52's (1979), mostly on the strength of their dance party classics "Rock Lobster" and "52 Girls." Ricky Wilson, lead guitarist and the member responsible for much of the band's unique vision, died of AIDS in 1985.

Image from A. Currell

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Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic

With its fusion of southern rock, jazz, and blues, Widespread Panic has earned renown as one of America's best live bands.

Image from Wikimedia

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R.E.M.

R.E.M.

The rock band R.E.M. (left to right: Peter Buck, Bill Berry, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills) was formed in Athens in 1980. The group was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

R.E.M.

R.E.M.

Formed in Athens in 1980, R.E.M. (left to right: Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, and Peter Buck) has become one of the most critically honored rock bands in America.

Photograph by youngrobv

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Reckoning Cover Art

Reckoning Cover Art

The cover art for Reckoning (1984), the second album by Athens-based rock group R.E.M., features a painting by Howard Finster, a folk artist and longtime resident of Chattooga County.

Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt performs in 2008 at the 40 Watt Club in Athens.

Courtesy of Mike White | DEADLYDESIGNS.COM

Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt, an influential folk-rock musician, spent much of his career in Athens. His first album, Little, was released in 1995 with the assistance of R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, and many of his subsequent albums were made in collaboration with Athens musicians.

Image from [carlo cravero]

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Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt, an acclaimed Athens-based musician, produced more than twenty albums over the course of his career. Chesnutt used a wheelchair after being partially paralyzed in a 1983 car accident, when he was eighteen years old.

Image from Todd Kulesza

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Atlanta Rhythm Section

Atlanta Rhythm Section

In 1972 a group of Atlanta-area studio musicians formed the Atlanta Rhythm Section. The band (pictured are vocalist Ronnie Hammond, who joined the band in 1973; guitarist J. R. Cobb; guitarist Barry Bailey; bassist Paul Goddard; keyboardist Dean Daughtry; and drummer Robert Nix) provided a different twist to the growing phenomenon of southern rock.

Atlanta Rhythm Section

Atlanta Rhythm Section

Atlanta Rhythm Section went through several band members over the years. This 1997 incarnation consisted of bassist Justin Senker, guitarist Barry Bailey, percussionist R. J. Vealey, vocalist Ronnie Hammond, keyboardist Dean Daughtry, and guitarist Steve Stone.