Ray Charles

February 14, 2012 344 No of hits
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Ray Charles

Ray Charles is an American singer, bandleader and pianist whose career in music crossed the boundaries of genre from blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, gospel and country, and who is considered one of the progenitors of soul--a style which melds gospel sounds with secular elements. Ray Charles is known for such enduring hits as "Georgia On My Mind," "Hit the Road Jack," "I got a Woman," and "America the Beautiful."

Ray Charles Robinson was born in 1930 in Albany, Georgia, and his family moved shortly thereafter to Greenville, Florida. The son of a mechanic/handyman and a sawmill worker, Ray Charles Robinson grew up in poverty during The Great Depression in the racially segregated South. When he was five, he witnessed the drowning death of his younger brother, and shortly thereafter began to lose his eyesight and was fully blind by the age of seven. Also at the age of seven he became a student at the state-funded St. Augustine's School for the Deaf and Blind, where he learned to read and write Braille and to arrange music. He also learned to play several instruments (piano, saxophone, clarinet and trumpet).

When Ray Charles was 15, his mother passed away and he left St. Augustine's to begin touring with bands that played the black dance halls. Later that year he moved from Florida to Seattle, where he met Quincy Jones (the two would share a lifelong friendship). In 1949, Ray Charles began recording on the Swing Time label with the McSon trio, with whom he released several singles. In 1953 he was signed to Atlantic Records, where he recorded the first big hit "I Got a Woman" in 1954, which would become one of his signature songs, and hit #1 on the R&B chart. In 1958 Ray Charles recorded "What'd I Say," his first song to top both the Pop and R&B charts. Later that year he recorded jazz and big bang music with Quincy Jones, which won him his first Grammys. "Georgia On My Mind" came out in 1960, and in 1961 "Hit the Road Jack" became #1 on the Pop and R&B charts.

Ray Charles' album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music and the sequel, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Volume Two were huge hits on both country and pop charts, and included the song "Take These Chains From My Heart." The mid-1960's brought drug arrests and convictions for Ray Charles, but he rebounded in 1970 with My Kind of Jazz, recorded with Quincy Jones, and his famous 1972 version of "America the Beautiful" from Message From the People.

Ray Charles has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Jazz Hall of Fame, and the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame. He has won 12 Grammys and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as a National Medal of the Arts.

Tags:   Ray Charles   America the Beautiful   Ray Charles Robinson   I Got a Woman   Hit the Road Jack  

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Ray Charles is an American singer, bandleader and pianist whose career in music crossed the boundaries of genre from blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, gospel and country, and who is considered one of the progenitors of soul--a style which melds gospel sounds with secular elements. Ray Charles...

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