Charlie Daniels' 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' Celebrates 40th Anniversary

When Charlie Daniels released "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" in 1979, he had already released more than a dozen singles, with only one of them landing in the Top 10, and not on the country chart. But when Daniels released the song, from his tenth Million Mile Reflections record, the song became a hit on both country and rock radio, sealing Daniels' status as a superstar.

"Of course I knew it was 40 years old," Daniels reflected to "It was 25 and it was 31, and so on and so forth. I think in our mind, our mental process that we have been kind of conditioned to think, that the number 40 is a line of demarcation or something. When I was a kid, 40 was when you started getting old. Of course 40 is nothing nowadays. Especially when you're 82, 40's nothing.

"But, it's all of a sudden," he continued. "My son said 40 years and I was like, 'Wow!' I mean, 40 seemed to make more impact than 39 did. Although it was a year away, it seemed to be a kind of an exponential sort of impact that the 40 made that made you really realize how long this thing's been out."

"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" is still relevant all these years later, with the song referenced in Blake Shelton's recent No. 1 hit, "God's Country." Although Daniels knew the song was a hit, the Country Music Hall of Fame member had no idea how massive the song would become.

"There's no way you could know that," Daniels reflected. "If you did, you'd try to do that every time and you can't do that. I had a feeling it was going to be a good song for us. I had a feeling it was gonna be. Our stock in trade at the time used to be called AOR stations, album-oriented stations, that would go into an album, and if the liked an album, then they'd play two or three cuts off of it. That's when you started selling albums, when you really started getting some recognition. And I had a feeling it was one of those kind of songs that we'd do well on there."

The octogenarian knows the song's popularity has extended even his fame, a fact he is completely okay with, and even appreciates.

"You could go to somewhere in Europe, in Western Europe, and you go to some place and ask, 'You know Charlie Daniels?'" Daniels said. "'No, we don't know him, never heard of 'em.' 'You know Devil Went Down to Georgia?' 'Oh, yea.'

"They know the song," he continued. "It's literally played all over the world, all over places where they don't even speak English actually. And it's been amazing piece of work. It's been absolutely amazing to me."


Download "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" on iTunes.

Photo Credit: Getty images/John Lamparski