In 1951 Alabama passed a law specifying that the words Heart of Dixie and a heart shape must be displayed on their vehicle license plates. In 2002, Heart of Dixie was placed inside the heart and shrunk down to teeny size, allowing room for Stars Fell On Alabama to be added.
Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the Southland
I miss Alabamy once again
—Ed King, Gary Rossington, Ronnie van Zant
In a bold move seven years later, the words Sweet Home Alabama replaced Stars on the license plates. Governor-at-that-time Bob Riley claimed that the song Sweet Home Alabama was the “third most-played song referring to a specific destination.” How did he know that?
We have two license plate mottos in a row here in Alabama that refer to songs.
The Leonid meteor shower of November, 1833 was spectacular in these parts. It was referred to as “the night the stars fell,” and translated into song in 1934 as Stars Fell On Alabama. More than one hundred artists have performed this tune, many of whose names you would recognize.
Some folks like to believe Stars Fell on Alabama commemorates the only documented case of a meteorite hitting a human being. A space rock fell down, crashed through a ceiling, bounced off a radio and struck a 34-year-old woman on the hip. This happened in 1954, twenty years after the song was written. So, no.
Sweet Home Alabama, the Lynyrd Skynyrd title that replaced Stars Fell On Alabama was written by three guys, none of whom is a native Alabaman, but they sure do love their Heart of Dixie state.