Ray Charles

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This article is about the rhythm and blues singer. Ray Charles_sentence_0

For other uses, see Ray Charles (disambiguation). Ray Charles_sentence_1

Ray Charles_table_infobox_0

Ray CharlesRay Charles_header_cell_0_0_0
Background informationRay Charles_header_cell_0_1_0
Birth nameRay Charles_header_cell_0_2_0 Ray Charles RobinsonRay Charles_cell_0_2_1
BornRay Charles_header_cell_0_3_0 (1930-09-23)September 23, 1930

Albany, Georgia, U.S.Ray Charles_cell_0_3_1

DiedRay Charles_header_cell_0_4_0 June 10, 2004(2004-06-10) (aged 73)

Beverly Hills, California, U.S.Ray Charles_cell_0_4_1

GenresRay Charles_header_cell_0_5_0 Ray Charles_cell_0_5_1
Occupation(s)Ray Charles_header_cell_0_6_0 Ray Charles_cell_0_6_1
InstrumentsRay Charles_header_cell_0_7_0 Ray Charles_cell_0_7_1
Years activeRay Charles_header_cell_0_8_0 1947–2004Ray Charles_cell_0_8_1
LabelsRay Charles_header_cell_0_9_0 Ray Charles_cell_0_9_1
Associated actsRay Charles_header_cell_0_10_0 Ray Charles_cell_0_10_1
WebsiteRay Charles_header_cell_0_11_0 Ray Charles_cell_0_11_1

Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer. Ray Charles_sentence_2

Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray." Ray Charles_sentence_3

He was often referred to as "The Genius." Ray Charles_sentence_4

Charles was blinded during childhood due to glaucoma. Ray Charles_sentence_5

Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic. Ray Charles_sentence_6

He contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues, and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, notably with his two Modern Sounds albums. Ray Charles_sentence_7

While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company. Ray Charles_sentence_8

Charles' 1960 hit "Georgia On My Mind" was the first of his three career No. Ray Charles_sentence_9

1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Ray Charles_sentence_10

His 1962 album Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music became his first album to top the Billboard 200. Ray Charles_sentence_11

Charles had multiple singles reach the Top 40 on various Billboard charts: 44 on the US R&B singles chart, 11 on the Hot 100 singles chart, 2 on the Hot Country singles charts. Ray Charles_sentence_12

Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by Louis Jordan and Charles Brown. Ray Charles_sentence_13

He had a lifelong friendship and occasional partnership with Quincy Jones. Ray Charles_sentence_14

Frank Sinatra called Ray Charles "the only true genius in show business," although Charles downplayed this notion. Ray Charles_sentence_15

Billy Joel said, "This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley". Ray Charles_sentence_16

For his musical contributions, Charles received the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and the Polar Music Prize. Ray Charles_sentence_17

He won 17 Grammy Awards, including 5 posthumously. Ray Charles_sentence_18

Charles was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, and 10 of his recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Ray Charles_sentence_19

Rolling Stone ranked Charles No. Ray Charles_sentence_20

10 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and No. Ray Charles_sentence_21

2 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Ray Charles_sentence_22

Early life and education Ray Charles_section_0

Ray Charles Robinson was the son of Bailey Robinson, a laborer, and Aretha (or Reatha) Williams, a laundress, of Greenville, Florida. Ray Charles_sentence_23

Aretha was described as a lovely slip of a girl with long wavy black hair; she was also sickly and walked with a cane. Ray Charles_sentence_24

Her mother had died and her father, a man Bailey worked with, could not keep her. Ray Charles_sentence_25

The Robinson family—Bailey, his wife Mary Jane and his mother—informally adopted her and Aretha took the surname Robinson. Ray Charles_sentence_26

A few years later 15 year old Aretha became pregnant by Bailey. Ray Charles_sentence_27

During the ensuing scandal, she left Greenville late in the summer of 1930 to be with family in Albany, Georgia. Ray Charles_sentence_28

After the birth of Ray Charles, she and her baby returned to Greenville. Ray Charles_sentence_29

Aretha and Bailey's wife, who had lost a son, then shared in Charles' upbringing. Ray Charles_sentence_30

His father abandoned the family, left Greenville, and married another woman elsewhere. Ray Charles_sentence_31

By his first birthday Charles had a brother, George. Ray Charles_sentence_32

In later years, none could remember who was George's father. Ray Charles_sentence_33

Charles was deeply devoted to his mother and later recalled, despite her poor health and adversity, her perseverance, self-sufficiency, and pride which were guiding lights in his life. Ray Charles_sentence_34

In his early years, Charles showed an interest in mechanical objects and would often watch his neighbors working on their cars and farm machinery. Ray Charles_sentence_35

His musical curiosity was sparked at Wylie Pitman's Red Wing Cafe, at the age of three, when Pitman played boogie woogie on an old upright piano; Pitman subsequently taught Charles how to play the piano. Ray Charles_sentence_36

Charles and his mother were always welcome at the Red Wing Cafe and even lived there when they were in financial distress. Ray Charles_sentence_37

Pitman would also care for Ray's younger brother George, to take some of the burden off their mother. Ray Charles_sentence_38

George drowned in his mother's laundry tub when he was four years old. Ray Charles_sentence_39

Charles started to lose his sight at the age of four or five, and was blind by the age of seven, apparently as a result of glaucoma. Ray Charles_sentence_40

Destitute, uneducated, and mourning the loss of her younger son, Aretha Robinson used her connections in the local community to find a school that would accept a blind African-American pupil. Ray Charles_sentence_41

Despite his initial protest, Charles attended school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Ray Charles_sentence_42 Augustine from 1937 to 1945. Ray Charles_sentence_43

Charles further developed his musical talent at school and was taught to play the classical piano music of J.S. Ray Charles_sentence_44 Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Ray Charles_sentence_45

His teacher, Mrs. Lawrence, taught him how to use braille music, a difficult process that requires learning the left hand movements by reading braille with the right hand and learning the right hand movements by reading braille with the left hand, and then combining the two parts. Ray Charles_sentence_46

Ray Charles' mother died in the spring of 1945, when Ray was 14. Ray Charles_sentence_47

Her death came as a shock to him; he later said the deaths of his brother and mother were "the two great tragedies" of his life. Ray Charles_sentence_48

Charles decided not to return to school after the funeral. Ray Charles_sentence_49

Career Ray Charles_section_1

1945–1952: Florida, Los Angeles, and Seattle Ray Charles_section_2

After leaving school, Charles moved to Jacksonville to live with Charles Wayne Powell, who had been friends with his late mother. Ray Charles_sentence_50

He played the piano for bands at the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla for over a year, earning $4 a night (US$57 in 2020 dollars). Ray Charles_sentence_51

He joined Local 632 of the musicians' union, in the hope that it would help him get work, and was able to use the union hall's piano, since he did not have one at home, and where he learned piano licks from copying the other players. Ray Charles_sentence_52

He started to build a reputation as a talented musician in Jacksonville, but the jobs did not come fast enough for him to construct a strong identity, so, at age 16, he moved to Orlando, where he lived in borderline poverty and went without food for days. Ray Charles_sentence_53

It was difficult for musicians to find work, as since World War II had ended there were no "G.I. Ray Charles_sentence_54

Joes" left to entertain. Ray Charles_sentence_55

Charles eventually started to write arrangements for a pop music band, and in the summer of 1947 he unsuccessfully auditioned to play piano for Lucky Millinder and his sixteen-piece band. Ray Charles_sentence_56

In 1947, Charles moved to Tampa, where he had two jobs: one as a pianist for Charles Brantley's Honey Dippers. Ray Charles_sentence_57

In his early career, he modeled himself on Nat King Cole. Ray Charles_sentence_58

His first four recordings—"Wondering and Wondering", "Walking and Talking", "Why Did You Go?" Ray Charles_sentence_59

and "I Found My Baby There"—were allegedly made in Tampa, although some discographies claim he recorded them in Miami in 1951 or Los Angeles in 1952. Ray Charles_sentence_60

Charles had always played piano for other people, but he was keen to have his own band. Ray Charles_sentence_61

He decided to leave Florida for a large city, and, considering Chicago and New York City too big, followed his friend Gossie McKee to Seattle, Washington, in March 1948, knowing that the biggest radio hits came from northern cities. Ray Charles_sentence_62

Here he met and befriended, under the tutelage of Robert Blackwell, a 15-year-old Quincy Jones. Ray Charles_sentence_63

With Charles on piano, McKee on guitar and Milton Garrett on bass, the McSon trio (named for McKee and Robinson) started playing the one-to-five A.M. shift at the Rocking Chair. Ray Charles_sentence_64

Publicity photos of the trio are some of the earliest known photographs of Charles. Ray Charles_sentence_65

In April 1949, he and his band recorded "Confession Blues", which became his first national hit, soaring to the second spot on the Billboard R&B chart. Ray Charles_sentence_66

While still working at the Rocking Chair, he also arranged songs for other artists, including Cole Porter's "Ghost of a Chance" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Emanon". Ray Charles_sentence_67

After the success of his first two singles, Charles moved to Los Angeles in 1950, and spent the next few years touring with the blues musician Lowell Fulson as his musical director. Ray Charles_sentence_68

In 1950, his performance in a Miami hotel impressed Henry Stone, who went on to record a Ray Charles Rockin' record (which never became particularly popular). Ray Charles_sentence_69

During his stay in Miami, Charles was required to stay in the segregated but thriving black community of Overtown. Ray Charles_sentence_70

Stone later helped Jerry Wexler find Charles in St. Ray Charles_sentence_71 Petersburg. Ray Charles_sentence_72

After signing with Swing Time Records, he recorded two more R&B hits under the name Ray Charles: "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand" (1951), which reached No. Ray Charles_sentence_73

5, and "Kissa Me Baby" (1952), which reached No. Ray Charles_sentence_74

8. Ray Charles_sentence_75

Swing Time folded the following year, and Ahmet Ertegun signed him to Atlantic. Ray Charles_sentence_76

1952–1959: Atlantic Records Ray Charles_section_3

In June 1952, Atlantic bought Charles's contract for $2,500 (US$24,070 in 2019 dollars). Ray Charles_sentence_77

His first recording session for Atlantic ("The Midnight Hour"/"Roll with My Baby") took place in September 1952, although his last Swing Time release ("Misery in My Heart"/"The Snow Is Falling") would not appear until February 1953. Ray Charles_sentence_78

In 1953, "Mess Around" became his first small hit for Atlantic; during the next year he had hits with "It Should've Been Me" and "Don't You Know". Ray Charles_sentence_79

He also recorded the songs "Midnight Hour" and "Sinner's Prayer". Ray Charles_sentence_80

Late in 1954, Charles recorded "I've Got a Woman". Ray Charles_sentence_81

The lyrics were written by bandleader Renald Richard. Ray Charles_sentence_82

Charles claimed the composition. Ray Charles_sentence_83

They later admitted that the song went back to The Southern Tones' "It Must Be Jesus" (1954). Ray Charles_sentence_84

It became one of his most notable hits, reaching No. Ray Charles_sentence_85

2 on the R&B chart. Ray Charles_sentence_86

"I've Got a Woman" combined gospel, jazz, and blues. Ray Charles_sentence_87

In 1955, he had hits with "This Little Girl of Mine" and "A Fool for You". Ray Charles_sentence_88

In upcoming years, he scored with "Drown in My Own Tears" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So". Ray Charles_sentence_89

In 1959, "What'd I Say" reached No. Ray Charles_sentence_90

6 on the Billboard Pop chart and No. Ray Charles_sentence_91

1 on the Billboard R&B chart. Ray Charles_sentence_92

He also recorded jazz, such as The Great Ray Charles (1957) and worked with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, releasing Soul Brothers in 1958 and Soul Meeting in 1961. Ray Charles_sentence_93

By 1958, he was not only headlining black venues such as the Apollo Theater in New York, but also bigger venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival where his first live album was recorded in 1958. Ray Charles_sentence_94

He hired a female singing group, The Cookies, and renamed them The Raelettes. Ray Charles_sentence_95

In 1958, Charles and The Raelettes performed for the famed Cavalcade of Jazz concert produced by Leon Hefflin Sr. held at the Shrine Auditorium on August 3. Ray Charles_sentence_96

The other headliners were Little Willie John, Sam Cooke, Ernie Freeman, and Bo Rhambo. Ray Charles_sentence_97

Sammy Davis Jr. was there to crown the winner of the Miss Cavalcade of Jazz beauty contest. Ray Charles_sentence_98

The event featured the top four prominent disc jockeys of Los Angeles. Ray Charles_sentence_99

1959–1971: Crossover success Ray Charles_section_4

See also: What'd I Say and Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Ray Charles_sentence_100

Charles reached the pinnacle of his success at Atlantic with the release of "What'd I Say", which combined gospel, jazz, blues and Latin music. Ray Charles_sentence_101

Charles said he wrote it spontaneously while he was performing in clubs with his band. Ray Charles_sentence_102

Despite some radio stations banning the song because of its sexually suggestive lyrics, the song became his first top ten pop record. Ray Charles_sentence_103

Later in 1959, he released his first country song (a cover of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On") and recorded three more albums for the label: a jazz record (The Genius After Hours, 1961); a blues record (The Genius Sings the Blues, 1961); and a big band record (The Genius of Ray Charles, 1959) which was his first Top 40 album, peaking at No. Ray Charles_sentence_104

17. Ray Charles_sentence_105

His contract with Atlantic expired in 1959, and several big labels offered him record deals; choosing not to renegotiate his contract with Atlantic, he signed with ABC-Paramount in November 1959. Ray Charles_sentence_106

He obtained a more liberal contract than other artists had at the time, with ABC offering him a $50,000 (US$438,527 in 2019 dollars) annual advance, higher royalties than before and eventual ownership of his master tapes—a very valuable and lucrative deal at the time. Ray Charles_sentence_107

During his Atlantic years, Charles had been heralded for his inventive compositions, but by the time of the release of the largely instrumental jazz album Genius + Soul = Jazz (1960) for ABC's subsidiary label Impulse! Ray Charles_sentence_108 , he had given up on writing to follow his eclectic impulses as an interpreter. Ray Charles_sentence_109

With "Georgia on My Mind", his first hit single for ABC-Paramount in 1960, Charles received national acclaim and four Grammy Awards, including two for "Georgia on My Mind" (Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Single Artist). Ray Charles_sentence_110

Written by Stuart Gorrell and Hoagy Carmichael, the song was Charles's first work with Sid Feller, who produced, arranged and conducted the recording. Ray Charles_sentence_111

Charles earned another Grammy for the follow-up "Hit the Road Jack", written by R&B singer Percy Mayfield. Ray Charles_sentence_112

By late 1961, Charles had expanded his small road ensemble to a big band, partly as a response to increasing royalties and touring fees, becoming one of the few black artists to cross over into mainstream pop with such a level of creative control. Ray Charles_sentence_113

This success, however, came to a momentary halt during a concert tour in November 1961, when a police search of Charles's hotel room in Indianapolis, Indiana, led to the discovery of heroin in the medicine cabinet. Ray Charles_sentence_114

The case was eventually dropped, as the search lacked a proper warrant by the police, and Charles soon returned to music. Ray Charles_sentence_115

In the early 1960s, on the way from Louisiana to Oklahoma City, Charles faced a near-death experience when the pilot of his plane lost visibility, as snow and his failure to use the defroster caused the windshield of the plane to become completely covered in ice. Ray Charles_sentence_116

The pilot made a few circles in the air before he was finally able to see through a small part of the windshield and land the plane. Ray Charles_sentence_117

Charles placed a spiritual interpretation on the event, claiming that "something or someone which instruments cannot detect" was responsible for creating the small opening in the ice on the windshield which enabled the pilot to land the plane safely. Ray Charles_sentence_118

The 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music and its sequel, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 2, helped to bring country music into the musical mainstream. Ray Charles_sentence_119

Charles's version of the Don Gibson song "I Can't Stop Loving You" topped the Pop chart for five weeks, stayed at No. Ray Charles_sentence_120

1 on the R&B chart for ten weeks, and gave him his only number-one record in the UK. Ray Charles_sentence_121

In 1962, he founded his record label, Tangerine, which ABC-Paramount promoted and distributed. Ray Charles_sentence_122

He had major pop hits in 1963 with "Busted" (US No. Ray Charles_sentence_123

4) and Take These Chains from My Heart (US No. Ray Charles_sentence_124

8). Ray Charles_sentence_125

In 1964 Margie Hendricks was kicked out of The Raelettes after a big argument. Ray Charles_sentence_126

In 1964, Charles's career was halted once more after he was arrested for a third time for possession of heroin. Ray Charles_sentence_127

He agreed to go to rehab to avoid jail time and eventually kicked his habit at a clinic in Los Angeles. Ray Charles_sentence_128

After spending a year on parole, Charles reappeared in the charts in 1966 with a series of hits composed with Ashford & Simpson and Jo Armstead, including the dance number "I Don't Need No Doctor" and "Let's Go Get Stoned", which became his first number-one R&B hit in several years. Ray Charles_sentence_129

His cover version of "Crying Time", originally recorded by country singer Buck Owens, reached No. Ray Charles_sentence_130

6 on the pop chart and helped Charles win a Grammy Award the following March. Ray Charles_sentence_131

In 1967, he had a top-twenty hit with another ballad, "Here We Go Again". Ray Charles_sentence_132

1971–1983: Commercial decline Ray Charles_section_5

Charles's renewed chart success, however, proved to be short lived, and by the 1970s his music was rarely played on radio stations. Ray Charles_sentence_133

The rise of psychedelic rock and harder forms of rock and R&B music had reduced Charles' radio appeal, as did his choosing to record pop standards and covers of contemporary rock and soul hits, since his earnings from owning his masters had taken away the motivation to write new material. Ray Charles_sentence_134

Charles nonetheless continued to have an active recording career. Ray Charles_sentence_135

Most of his recordings between 1968 and 1973 evoked strong reactions: people either liked them a lot or strongly disliked them. Ray Charles_sentence_136

His 1972 album A Message from the People included his unique gospel-influenced version of "America the Beautiful" and a number of protest songs about poverty and civil rights. Ray Charles_sentence_137

Charles was often criticized for his version of "America the Beautiful" because it was very drastically changed from the song's original version. Ray Charles_sentence_138

On July 14, 1973, Margie Hendrix, the mother of Ray's son Charles Wayne Hendrix, died at 38 years old from a heroin overdose, which shocked Ray. Ray Charles_sentence_139

In 1974, Charles left ABC Records and recorded several albums on his own label, Crossover Records. Ray Charles_sentence_140

A 1975 recording of Stevie Wonder's hit "Living for the City" later helped Charles win another Grammy. Ray Charles_sentence_141

In 1977, he reunited with Ahmet Ertegun and re-signed to Atlantic Records, for which he recorded the album True to Life, remaining with his old label until 1980. Ray Charles_sentence_142

However, the label had now begun to focus on rock acts, and some of their prominent soul artists, such as Aretha Franklin, were starting to be neglected. Ray Charles_sentence_143

In November 1977 he appeared as the host of the NBC television show Saturday Night Live. Ray Charles_sentence_144

In April 1979, his version of "Georgia on My Mind" was proclaimed the state song of Georgia, and an emotional Charles performed the song on the floor of the state legislature. Ray Charles_sentence_145

In 1980 Charles performed in the musical “The Blues Brothers”. Ray Charles_sentence_146

Although he had notably supported the American Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, Charles was criticized for performing at the Sun City resort in South Africa in 1981, during an international boycott protesting that country's apartheid policy. Ray Charles_sentence_147

He later defended his choice of performing there after insisting that the audience of black and white fans would integrate while he was there. Ray Charles_sentence_148

1983–2004: Later years Ray Charles_section_6

In 1983, Charles signed a contract with Columbia. Ray Charles_sentence_149

He recorded a string of country albums and had hit singles in duets with singers such as George Jones, Chet Atkins, B. Ray Charles_sentence_150 J. Thomas, Mickey Gilley, Hank Williams Jr., Dee Dee Bridgewater ("Precious Thing") and his longtime friend Willie Nelson, with whom he recorded "Seven Spanish Angels". Ray Charles_sentence_151

In 1985, Charles participated in the famous musical recording and video "We Are the World", a charity single recorded by the supergroup United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa. Ray Charles_sentence_152

Before the release of his first album for Warner, Would You Believe, Charles made a return to the R&B charts with a cover of the Brothers Johnson's "I'll Be Good to You", a duet with his lifelong friend Quincy Jones and the singer Chaka Khan, which hit number one on the R&B chart in 1990 and won Charles and Khan a Grammy for their duet. Ray Charles_sentence_153

Prior to this, Charles returned to the pop charts with "Baby Grand", a duet with the singer Billy Joel. Ray Charles_sentence_154

In 1989, he recorded a cover of the Southern All Stars' "Itoshi no Ellie" for a Japanese TV advertisement for the Suntory brand, releasing it in Japan as "Ellie My Love", where it reached No. Ray Charles_sentence_155

3 on its Oricon chart. Ray Charles_sentence_156

In the same year he was a special guest at the Arena di Verona during the tour promoting Oro Incenso & Birra of the Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari. Ray Charles_sentence_157

In 2001–02, Charles appeared in commercials for the New Jersey Lottery to promote its campaign "For every dream, there's a jackpot". Ray Charles_sentence_158

In 2003, he headlined the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., attended by President George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Ray Charles_sentence_159

Also in 2003, Charles presented Van Morrison with Morrison's award upon being inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the two sang Morrison's song "Crazy Love" (the performance appears on Morrison's 2007 album The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3). Ray Charles_sentence_160

In 2003, Charles performed "Georgia on My Mind" and "America the Beautiful" at a televised annual banquet of electronic media journalists held in Washington, D.C. His final public appearance was on April 30, 2004, at the dedication of his music studio as a historic landmark in Los Angeles. Ray Charles_sentence_161

Legacy Ray Charles_section_7

Influence on music industry Ray Charles_section_8

Charles possessed one of the most recognizable voices in American music. Ray Charles_sentence_162

In the words of musicologist Henry Pleasants: Ray Charles_sentence_163

Pleasants continues, "Ray Charles is usually described as a baritone, and his speaking voice would suggest as much, as would the difficulty he experiences in reaching and sustaining the baritone's high E and F in a popular ballad. Ray Charles_sentence_164

But the voice undergoes some sort of transfiguration under stress, and in music of gospel or blues character he can and does sing for measures on end in the high tenor range of A, B flat, B, C and even C sharp and D, sometimes in full voice, sometimes in an ecstatic head voice, sometimes in falsetto. Ray Charles_sentence_165

In falsetto he continues up to E and F above high C. On one extraordinary record, 'I'm Going Down to the River'...he hits an incredible B flat...giving him an overall range, including the falsetto extension, of at least three octaves." Ray Charles_sentence_166

His style and success in the genres of rhythm and blues and jazz had an influence on a number of highly successful artists, including, as Jon Pareles has noted, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, and Billy Joel. Ray Charles_sentence_167

Other singers who have acknowledged Charles' influence on their own styles include James Booker, Steve Winwood, Richard Manuel, and Gregg Allman. Ray Charles_sentence_168

According to Joe Levy, a music editor for Rolling Stone, "The hit records he made for Atlantic in the mid-1950s mapped out everything that would happen to rock 'n' roll and soul music in the years that followed". Ray Charles_sentence_169

Charles was also an inspiration to Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, who told the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet: "I was about 15. Ray Charles_sentence_170

In the middle of the night with friends, we were listening to jazz. Ray Charles_sentence_171

It was "Georgia on My Mind", Ray Charles's version. Ray Charles_sentence_172

Then I thought 'One day, if I make some people feel only one-twentieth of what I am feeling now, it will be quite enough for me.'" Ray Charles_sentence_173

Ray, a biopic portraying his life and career between the mid-1930s and 1979, was released in October 2004, starring Jamie Foxx as Charles. Ray Charles_sentence_174

Foxx won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor for the role. Ray Charles_sentence_175

Awards and honors Ray Charles_section_9

In 1975, Ray Charles was inducted into the American Academy of Achievement and presented with the Golden Plate Award and the Academy of Achievement gold medal. Ray Charles_sentence_176

In 1979, Charles was one of the first musicians born in the state to be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Ray Charles_sentence_177

His version of "Georgia on My Mind" was also made the official state song of Georgia. Ray Charles_sentence_178

In 1981, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was one of the first inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural ceremony, in 1986. Ray Charles_sentence_179

He also received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986. Ray Charles_sentence_180

Charles won 17 Grammy Awards from his 37 nominations. Ray Charles_sentence_181

In 1987, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Ray Charles_sentence_182

In 1991, he was inducted to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation and was presented with the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement during the 1991 UCLA Spring Sing. Ray Charles_sentence_183

In 1990, he was given an honorable doctorate degree in fine arts by the University of South Florida. Ray Charles_sentence_184

In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. Ray Charles_sentence_185

In 1998 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize, together with Ravi Shankar, in Stockholm, Sweden. Ray Charles_sentence_186

In 2004 he was inducted to the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame. Ray Charles_sentence_187

The Grammy Awards of 2005 were dedicated to Charles. Ray Charles_sentence_188

In 2001, Morehouse College honored Charles with the Candle Award for Lifetime Achievement in Arts and Entertainment, and later that same year granted him an honorary doctor of humane letters. Ray Charles_sentence_189

Charles donated $2 million to Morehouse "to fund, educate and inspire the next generation of musical pioneers." Ray Charles_sentence_190

In 2003, Charles was awarded an honorary degree by Dillard University, and upon his death he endowed a professorship of African-American culinary history at the school, the first such chair in the nation. Ray Charles_sentence_191

In 2010, a $20 million, 76,000 sq ft (7,100 m) facility named the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building, opened at Morehouse. Ray Charles_sentence_192

The United States Postal Service issued a forever stamp honoring Charles, as part of its Musical Icons series, on September 23, 2013. Ray Charles_sentence_193

In 2015, Charles was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame. Ray Charles_sentence_194

In 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama said, "Ray Charles's version of "America the Beautiful" will always be in my view the most patriotic piece of music ever performed" Ray Charles_sentence_195

Contribution to civil rights movement Ray Charles_section_10

On March 15, 1961, shortly after the release of the hit song "Georgia on My Mind" (1960), the Albany, Georgia-born musician was scheduled to perform at a dance at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, but cancelled the show after learning from students of Paine College that the larger auditorium dance floor would be restricted to whites, while blacks would be obligated to sit in the Music Hall balcony. Ray Charles_sentence_196

Charles left town immediately after letting the public know why he wouldn't be performing, but the promoter went on to sue Charles for breach of contract, and Charles was fined $757 in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta on June 14, 1962. Ray Charles_sentence_197

The following year, Charles did perform at a desegregated Bell Auditorium concert together with his backup group the Raelettes on October 23, 1963, as depicted in the 2004 film, Ray. Ray Charles_sentence_198

On December 7, 2007, Ray Charles Plaza was opened in Albany, Georgia, with a revolving, lighted bronze sculpture of Charles seated at a piano. Ray Charles_sentence_199

The Ray Charles Foundation Ray Charles_section_11

Founded in 1986, the Ray Charles Foundation maintains the mission statement of financially supporting institutions and organizations in the research of hearing disorders. Ray Charles_sentence_200

Originally known as The Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders, it was renamed in 2006 and has provided financial donations to numerous institutions involved in hearing loss research and education. Ray Charles_sentence_201

The purpose of the foundation has been "to administer funds for scientific, educational and charitable purposes; to encourage, promote and educate, through grants to institutions and organizations, as to the causes and cures for diseases and disabilities of the hearing impaired and to assist organizations and institutions in their social educational and academic advancement of programs for the youth, and carry on other charitable and educational activities associated with these goals as allowed by law". Ray Charles_sentence_202

Recipients of donations include Benedict College, Morehouse College, and other universities. Ray Charles_sentence_203

The foundation has taken action against donation recipients who do not use funds in accordance with its mission statement, such as the Albany State University, which was made to return a $3 million donation after not using the funds for over a decade. Ray Charles_sentence_204

The foundation houses its executive offices at the historic RPM International Building, originally the home of Ray Charles Enterprises and now also home to the Ray Charles Memorial Library on the first floor, which was founded on September 23, 2010 (what would have been his 80th birthday). Ray Charles_sentence_205

The library was founded to "provide an avenue for young children to experience music and art in a way that will inspire their creativity and imagination", and is not open to the public without reservation, as the main goal is to educate mass groups of underprivileged youth and provide art and history to those without access to such documents. Ray Charles_sentence_206

Loss of material Ray Charles_section_12

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Ray Charles among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. Ray Charles_sentence_207

Personal life Ray Charles_section_13

Charles stated in his 1978 autobiography, Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story, that he became hooked on women after losing his virginity at 12 years old to a woman about 20. Ray Charles_sentence_208

"Cigarettes and smack (heroin) are the two truly addictive habits I've known. Ray Charles_sentence_209

You might add women," he said. Ray Charles_sentence_210

"My obsession centers on women—did then (when young) and does now. Ray Charles_sentence_211

I can't leave them alone," he added. Ray Charles_sentence_212

Relationships and children Ray Charles_section_14

Charles was married twice. Ray Charles_sentence_213

His first marriage was less than a year, his second 22 years. Ray Charles_sentence_214

Throughout his life Charles had many relationships with women with whom he fathered a dozen children. Ray Charles_sentence_215

His marriage to Eileen Williams lasted from July 31, 1951 until 1952. Ray Charles_sentence_216

He met his second wife Della Beatrice Howard Robinson (called "Bea" by Charles) in Texas in 1954. Ray Charles_sentence_217

They married the following year on April 5, 1955. Ray Charles_sentence_218

Their first child together, Ray Jr., was born in 1955. Ray Charles_sentence_219

Charles was not in town for the birth because he was playing a show in Texas. Ray Charles_sentence_220

The couple had two more sons, David and Robert. Ray Charles_sentence_221

They raised their children in View Park, California. Ray Charles_sentence_222

Charles felt that his heroin addiction took a toll on Della during their marriage. Ray Charles_sentence_223

Due to his drug addiction, extramarital affairs on tours and volatile behavior, the marriage deteriorated and they divorced after 22 years of marriage in 1977. Ray Charles_sentence_224

Charles had a six-year-long affair with Margie Hendricks, one of the original Raelettes, and in 1959 they had a son, Charles Wayne. Ray Charles_sentence_225

His affair with Mae Mosley Lyles resulted in another daughter, Renee, born in 1961. Ray Charles_sentence_226

In 1963, by Sandra Jean Betts, Ray Charles had a daughter, Sheila Raye Charles, a singer and songwriter who died of breast cancer on June 15, 2017. Ray Charles_sentence_227

In 1977, Charles had a child with his Parisian lover Arlette Kotchounian whom he met in 1967. Ray Charles_sentence_228

His long-term girlfriend and partner at the time of his death was Norma Pinella. Ray Charles_sentence_229

Charles fathered a total of 12 children with ten different women: Ray Charles_sentence_230

Ray Charles_unordered_list_0

  • Evelyn Robinson, born in 1949 (daughter with Louise Flowers)Ray Charles_item_0_0
  • Ray Charles Robinson Jr., born May 25, 1955 (son with wife Della Bea Robinson)Ray Charles_item_0_1
  • David Robinson, born in 1958 (son with wife Della Bea Robinson)Ray Charles_item_0_2
  • Charles Wayne Hendricks, born on October 1, 1959 (son with Margie Hendricks, one of The Raelettes)Ray Charles_item_0_3
  • Robert Robinson, born in 1960 (son with wife Della Bea Robinson)Ray Charles_item_0_4
  • Renee Robinson, born in 1961 (daughter with Mae Mosely Lyles)Ray Charles_item_0_5
  • Sheila Robinson, born in 1963 (daughter with Sandra Jean Betts)Ray Charles_item_0_6
  • Reatha Butler, born in 1966Ray Charles_item_0_7
  • Alexandra Bertrand, born in 1968 (daughter with Mary-Chantal Bertrand)Ray Charles_item_0_8
  • Vincent Kotchounian, born in 1977 (son with Arlette Kotchounian)Ray Charles_item_0_9
  • Robyn Moffett, born in 1978 (daughter with Gloria Moffett)Ray Charles_item_0_10
  • Ryan Corey Robinson den Bok, born in 1987 (son with Mary Anne den Bok)Ray Charles_item_0_11

Charles held a family luncheon for his twelve children in 2002, ten of whom attended. Ray Charles_sentence_231

He told them he was mortally ill and $500,000 had been placed in trusts for each of the children to be paid out over the next five years. Ray Charles_sentence_232

Drug abuse and legal problems Ray Charles_section_15

At 18, Charles first tried marijuana when he played in McSon Trio and was eager to try it as he thought it helped musicians create music and tap into their creativity. Ray Charles_sentence_233

He later became addicted to heroin for seventeen years. Ray Charles_sentence_234

Charles was first arrested in 1955, when he and his bandmates were caught backstage with loose marijuana and drug paraphernalia, including a burnt spoon, syringe, and needle. Ray Charles_sentence_235

The arrest did not deter his drug use, which only escalated as he became more successful and made more money. Ray Charles_sentence_236

In 1958, Charles was arrested on a Harlem street corner for possession of narcotics and equipment for administering heroin. Ray Charles_sentence_237

Charles was arrested on a narcotics charge on November 14, 1961, while waiting in an Indiana hotel room before a performance. Ray Charles_sentence_238

The detectives seized heroin, marijuana, and other items. Ray Charles_sentence_239

Charles, then 31, said he had been a drug addict since the age of 16. Ray Charles_sentence_240

The case was dismissed because of the manner in which the evidence was obtained, but Charles's situation did not improve until a few years later. Ray Charles_sentence_241

On Halloween 1964, Charles was arrested for possession of heroin at Boston's Logan Airport. Ray Charles_sentence_242

He decided to quit heroin and entered St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood, California, where he endured four days of cold turkey withdrawal. Ray Charles_sentence_243

Following his self-imposed stay, he pleaded guilty to four narcotic charges. Ray Charles_sentence_244

Prosecutors called for two years in prison and a hefty fine, but the judge listened to Dr. Hacker's account of Charles' determination to get off drugs and he was sent to McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. Ray Charles_sentence_245

The judge offered to postpone the verdict for a year if Charles agreed to undergo regular examinations by government-appointed physicians. Ray Charles_sentence_246

When Charles returned to court, he received a five-year suspended sentence, four years of probation, and a fine of $10,000. Ray Charles_sentence_247

Charles responded to the saga of his drug use and reform with the songs "I Don't Need No Doctor," "Let's Go Get Stoned," and the release of Crying Time, his first album since having kicked his heroin addiction in 1966. Ray Charles_sentence_248

Chess hobby Ray Charles_section_16

Charles enjoyed playing chess. Ray Charles_sentence_249

A part of his therapy when he quit heroin, he met with psychiatrist Dr. Friedrich Hacker () three times a week who taught him how to play chess. Ray Charles_sentence_250

He used a special board with raised squares and holes for the pieces. Ray Charles_sentence_251

When questioned if people try to cheat against a blind man, he joked in reply, "You can't cheat in Chess... Ray Charles_sentence_252

I'm gonna see that!" Ray Charles_sentence_253

In a 1991 concert, he referred to Willie Nelson as "my chess partner". Ray Charles_sentence_254

In 2002, he played and lost to the American grandmaster and former U.S. champion Larry Evans. Ray Charles_sentence_255

Death Ray Charles_section_17

In 2003, Charles had successful hip replacement surgery and was planning to go back on tour, until he began suffering from other ailments. Ray Charles_sentence_256

He died at his home in Beverly Hills, California of complications resulting from liver failure, on June 10, 2004, at the age of 73, five days after the death of president Ronald Reagan. Ray Charles_sentence_257

His funeral took place on June 18, 2004, at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles with numerous musical figures in attendance. Ray Charles_sentence_258

B.B. Ray Charles_sentence_259 King, Glen Campbell, Stevie Wonder and Wynton Marsalis each played a tribute at the funeral. Ray Charles_sentence_260

He was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery. Ray Charles_sentence_261

His final album, Genius Loves Company, released two months after his death, consists of duets with admirers and contemporaries: B. Ray Charles_sentence_262 B. Ray Charles_sentence_263 King, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Gladys Knight, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Elton John, Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Norah Jones and Johnny Mathis. Ray Charles_sentence_264

The album won eight Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals (for "Here We Go Again", with Norah Jones), and Best Gospel Performance (for "Heaven Help Us All", with Gladys Knight); he also received nods for his duets with Elton John and B. Ray Charles_sentence_265

B. Ray Charles_sentence_266

King. Ray Charles_sentence_267

The album included a version of Harold Arlen and E. Ray Charles_sentence_268 Y. Harburg's "Over the Rainbow", sung as a duet with Johnny Mathis, which was played at Charles' memorial service. Ray Charles_sentence_269

Discography Ray Charles_section_18

Main article: Ray Charles discography Ray Charles_sentence_270

Some of his well known songs are: Ray Charles_sentence_271

Ray Charles_unordered_list_1

Filmography Ray Charles_section_19

Film Ray Charles_section_20

Ray Charles_table_general_1

YearRay Charles_header_cell_1_0_0 TitleRay Charles_header_cell_1_0_1 RoleRay Charles_header_cell_1_0_2 NotesRay Charles_header_cell_1_0_3
1961Ray Charles_cell_1_1_0 Swingin' AlongRay Charles_cell_1_1_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_1_1_2 Ray Charles_cell_1_1_3
1965Ray Charles_cell_1_2_0 Ballad in BlueRay Charles_cell_1_2_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_1_2_2 Ray Charles_cell_1_2_3
1966Ray Charles_cell_1_3_0 The Big T.N.T. ShowRay Charles_cell_1_3_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_1_3_2 Documentary filmRay Charles_cell_1_3_3
1980Ray Charles_cell_1_4_0 The Blues BrothersRay Charles_cell_1_4_1 RayRay Charles_cell_1_4_2 Cameo appearanceRay Charles_cell_1_4_3
1989Ray Charles_cell_1_5_0 Limit UpRay Charles_cell_1_5_1 JuliusRay Charles_cell_1_5_2 Ray Charles_cell_1_5_3
1990Ray Charles_cell_1_6_0 Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy JonesRay Charles_cell_1_6_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_1_6_2 DocumentaryRay Charles_cell_1_6_3
1994Ray Charles_cell_1_7_0 Love AffairRay Charles_cell_1_7_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_1_7_2 Cameo appearanceRay Charles_cell_1_7_3
1996Ray Charles_cell_1_8_0 Spy HardRay Charles_cell_1_8_1 Bus DriverRay Charles_cell_1_8_2 Cameo appearanceRay Charles_cell_1_8_3
1998Ray Charles_cell_1_9_0 New Yorkers 2Ray Charles_cell_1_9_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_1_9_2 Cameo appearanceRay Charles_cell_1_9_3
2000Ray Charles_cell_1_10_0 The Extreme Adventures of Super DaveRay Charles_cell_1_10_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_1_10_2 Ray Charles_cell_1_10_3
2000Ray Charles_cell_1_11_0 Blue's Big Musical MovieRay Charles_cell_1_11_1 G-Clef (voice)Ray Charles_cell_1_11_2 Final film role before his death in 2004Ray Charles_cell_1_11_3
2004Ray Charles_cell_1_12_0 RayRay Charles_cell_1_12_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_1_12_2 Uncredited

Archival footageRay Charles_cell_1_12_3

Television Ray Charles_section_21

Ray Charles_table_general_2

YearRay Charles_header_cell_2_0_0 TitleRay Charles_header_cell_2_0_1 RoleRay Charles_header_cell_2_0_2 NotesRay Charles_header_cell_2_0_3
1977Ray Charles_cell_2_1_0 Saturday Night LiveRay Charles_cell_2_1_1 Himself (host)Ray Charles_cell_2_1_2 Season 3, Episode 5Ray Charles_cell_2_1_3
1987Ray Charles_cell_2_2_0 Who's the BossRay Charles_cell_2_2_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_2_2_2 Episode: "Hit the Road, Chad"Ray Charles_cell_2_2_3
1987Ray Charles_cell_2_3_0 St. ElsewhereRay Charles_cell_2_3_1 Arthur TibbitsRay Charles_cell_2_3_2 Episode: "Jose, Can You See?"Ray Charles_cell_2_3_3
1987Ray Charles_cell_2_4_0 MoonlightingRay Charles_cell_2_4_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_2_4_2 Episode: "A Trip to the Moon"Ray Charles_cell_2_4_3
1994Ray Charles_cell_2_5_0 Ray Alexander: A Taste for JusticeRay Charles_cell_2_5_1 Ray Charles_cell_2_5_2 Television movieRay Charles_cell_2_5_3
1994Ray Charles_cell_2_6_0 WingsRay Charles_cell_2_6_1 HimselfRay Charles_cell_2_6_2 Episode: "A Decent Proposal"Ray Charles_cell_2_6_3
1997–1998Ray Charles_cell_2_7_0 The NannyRay Charles_cell_2_7_1 SammyRay Charles_cell_2_7_2 4 episodesRay Charles_cell_2_7_3

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray Charles.