Florida’s natives and transplants have found worldwide success in many musical genres. Some have ties to Florida cities and other surprises in their history.
Brian Kelley, country music star in the duo Florida Georgia Line, grew up in Ormond Beach. His father, Ed Kelley, is a former Mayor and former Volusia County Council Chair. Brian shot part of the “Florida Boy Forever” video at the City’s Ormond Beach Sports Complex and included his dad, current members of his high school’s baseball team and his former coach. Brian, who played sports at the complex as a student, has described it as “a memory lane” that he visits every time he’s home. “It means the world to show off where I’m from,” he said.
The video includes scenes from Daytona Beach and Flagler Beach. The song is part of Brian’s “Sunshine State of Mind” album.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played a 2006 hometown show in Gainesville. The City issued a proclamation declaring it Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Day. The show was recorded for the “Live from Gatorville” video. Their song “I Won’t Back Down” is still played at University of Florida football games. A city park is named in his honor.
Several other musicians have Florida connections, including:
- Ray Charles, well-known for “Georgia on My Mind,” was raised in Greenville. Charles attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in Augustine. He also lived in Tampa and played in a country-western band. One early recording was “St. Pete Florida Blues.”
- Brothers Duane and Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band were raised in Daytona Beach, and the band was organized in Jacksonville.
- Jimmy Buffett and “Margaritaville” are associated with Florida, and he’s lived in the state for years. However, Buffett was born in Mississippi.
Someone who doesn’t have ties to Florida? Stephen Foster, who wrote the state song “Old Folks at Home.” He saw the Suwannee River spelled “Swanee River” on a map and liked the sound of it. The misspelled name is still the more familiar title of the song.
Sources: City of Gainesville, jacksonville.com, onlyinyourstate.com, City of Ormond Beach and The Daytona Beach News-Journal.