The Devil Went Down to Georgia
Charlie Daniels Band, 1979
Sometimes in interviews Charlie Daniels said he didn’t know exactly where this song came from, that “it just did.” The song tells the story of the devil arriving in Georgia discouraged and ready to wager with young Johnny for his soul in a fiddling contest. If Johnny wins, he gets a gold fiddle for keepsies, also known as fiddle bling. If Johnny loses, the devil gets his soul. Personally, I think Johnny should have raised the stakes a bit or at least asked for something bigger, like maybe a gold cello. Anyway, the devil and his demons put up a mighty fight that includes a rock band sound, but Johnny whips out his fiddle in response and wins.
Fun fact: Patrick Swayze’s mom takes credit for setting the tempo of this song. It featured in the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy for which she was choreographer. Purportedly, when Charlie Daniels asked how fast she could dance it, she replied by asking, “How fast can you play it?”
Enjoy this somewhat extended version of the Charlie Daniels Band playing it at the Grand Ole Opry.