State song. “South Carolina on My Mind” became an official state song in legislation approved by Governor Richard Riley on March 8, 1984. The General Assembly’s intention was “to help inspire pride in our State and improve the quality of life among all South Carolinians.” The ballad was composed by Hank Martin and performed and recorded by him and his partner Buzz Arledge. Both were native South Carolinians and professional musicians in Nashville, Tennessee, and New York City. Words and music were published in 1979. Martin and Arledge included it in their album South Carolina on My Mind.
Henry Grieshaber “Hank” Martin III was born in Columbia in 1944, brought up in Bishopville, and attended high school in Sumter. Nun Ellsworth “Buzz” Arledge, Jr., was born in 1944 in Sumter. The two began singing together while in high school. Beginning in the late 1970s they worked together in Nashville as performers and established Marledge, a music publishing company. Martin worked with the singer Dolly Parton and made national radio and television commercials in Nashville and New York City. He was inspired to write the state song in part by the poem “A Carolina Love Song,” composed by his father-in-law, the Reverend Riley Munday, a Baptist minister, humorist, and sometime poet-in-residence at Columbia College. The lyrics evoke the state’s natural beauty: “I’ve got South Carolina on my mind, / Remembering all those sunshine Summer- times, / And the Autumns in the Smokies / When the leaves turn to gold / Touches my heart and thrills my soul / To have South Carolina on my mind, / With those clean snow-covered Wintertimes / And the white sand of the beaches, / And those Carolina peaches. I’ve got South Carolina on my mind.”
Hladczuk, John, and Sharon Schneider Hladczuk. State Songs: Anthems and Their Origins. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2000.