Ray Charles life and biography

Ray Charles picture, image, poster

Ray Charles biography

Date of birth : 1930-09-23
Date of death : 2004-06-10
Birthplace : Albany, Georgia, USA
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-05-27
Credited as : R&B gospel singer and musician, I'm Wonderin' And Wonderin,

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Ray Charles (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was an American musician. Charles was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm & blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings for Atlantic Records. He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his Modern Sounds albums. During his tenure with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company.

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Charles number 10 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and voted him number two on their November 2008 list of "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Brought up with a rough childhood, Ray Charles was blinded at the age of seven because of an accident while trying to save his brother from drowning. While this may have not been the cause of his blindness, the unfortunate event plagued Ray for the rest of his life. However, being a most gifted musician and singer, even while attending the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, Ray was able to practice music all the time and even composed music for his classmates.

His parents both died tragically, when Ray was young. In his latter teens, he decided to leave Florida and head to Seattle, where he wanted to secure musical gigs to make a living. While there, he was able to get some recording sessions with Swingtime Records, where he recorded his hits, Confession Blues. In 1952, he followed by signing with the much larger Atlantic Records, who would market his talent across the full U.S.

In the mid-1950s, Ray Charles saw boundless success while recording singles. Here, he recorded such hits as I Got a Woman and Lonely Avenue. His fame grew even more when he began to perform live, offering the audience new takes on old favorites and even singing songs prior to their actual release date. He soon topped the charts with The Night Time is the Right Time.

Wanting artistic control over his music, Ray Charles moved to ABC records and performed an enchanting America the Beautiful. In his latter career, Charles saw the advantages of hopping onto the pop music arena and from thereon became internationally known for his appearances in both TV and film. A biography of Ray Charles referred to as a biopic was released in 2004. Actor Jamie Foxx depicts Ray Charles’ remarkable life and career. His portrayal won him an Academy Award for his role.

Ray Charles was taken into Police custody in 1965 after investigators found heroin in his possession. While that was a repeated offense, he made a deal that he would join a rehabilitation clinic. Upon his release, he had kicked the habit. Following, his career was both up and down, but he remained in the public’s eye by performing concerts all over the U.S. In The Blues Brothers, Ray Charles makes a cameo and sings on film. With the film’s popularity, people began searching for more types of soul music. Although he had a personal life that was up and down, along with a musical career that spanned decades, Ray Charles became an iconic representative of American mainstream music.

Charles was significantly involved in the biopic Ray, an October 2004 film which portrays his life and career between 1930 and 1966 and stars Jamie Foxx as Charles. Foxx won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor for the role.

Before shooting could begin, director Taylor Hackford brought Foxx to meet Charles, who insisted that they sit down at two pianos and play together. After two hours, he stood up, hugged Foxx, and gave his blessing, proclaiming, "He's the one... he can do it." Charles was expected to attend a showing of the completed film, but died before it opened. The movie is the all-time number one biopic per screen average, opening on 2006 screens and making 20 million dollars.

As noted in the film's final credits, Ray is based on true events, but includes some characters, names, locations, events which have been changed and others which have been "fictionalized for dramatization purposes". One example of the film's use of dramatic license are the scenes which refer to Charles as being temporarily banned from performing in Georgia.

The film's credits note that he is survived by 12 children, 21 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren as of the movie release in October 2004.


* Swingin' Along (1961)
* Ballad in Blue (1964)
* The Big T.N.T. Show (1966) (documentary)
* The Blues Brothers (1980)
* Limit Up (1989)
* Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones (1990) (documentary)
* The Nanny (Sammy)
* Love Affair (1994)
* Spy Hard (1996)
* Adv. Super Dave (2000)
* Soul Deep

Hall of Fame and other honors

In 1979, he was one of the first honorees of the Georgia State Music Hall of Fame being recognized for being a musician born in the state. Ray's version of "Georgia On My Mind" was made into the official state song for Georgia. 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. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986.

In 1987, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1991, he was inducted to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In 1998 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize together with Ravi Shankar in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2004 he was inducted to the Jazz Hall of Fame, and inducted to the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame. Also in 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #10 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Grammy Awards of 2005 were dedicated to Charles.

On December 7, 2007, Ray Charles Plaza was opened in Albany, Georgia, with a revolving, lighted bronze sculpture of Charles seated at a piano. Later that month, on December 26, 2007, Ray Charles was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. He was also presented with the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, during the 1991 UCLA Spring Sing.

Rau Charles' Singles

1949: The McSon Trio (aka Maxin Trio, aka Maxim Trio):

* "I Love You, I Love You (I Will Never Let You Go)" / "Confession Blues"
"Confession Blues" reached #2 on the US R&B charts.
* "Blues Before Sunrise" / "How Long Blues"
* "A Sentimental Blues" / "You'll Never Miss the Water (Until the Well Runs Dry)"
* "Alone in the City" / "Can Anyone Ask For More?"
* "Here Am I" (aka "Let's Have A Ball") / "Rockin' Chair Blues"

1949–1952: Ray Charles, The Ray Charles Trio:

* "Sitting On Top of the World" (Now She's Gone) / "I've Had My Fun (Going Down Slow)" (1949)
* "Ain't That Fine" / "Don't Put All Your Dreams In One Basket"
* "See See Rider" / "What Have I Done"
* "She's On The Ball" / "Honey Honey"
* "The Ego Song" ("Sweet As Can Be") / "Late In The Evening"
* "Someday" (aka "Worried Life Blues" / "Someday Baby") / "I'll Do Anything But Work"
* "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" / "All To Myself"
* "Lonely Boy" / "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand" (1951)
"Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand" reached #5 on the US R&B charts.
* "Kissa Me Baby" / "I'm Glad For Your Sake"
* "Baby Won't You Please Come Home" / "Hey Now"
* "Baby Let Me Hear You Call My Name" / "Guitar Blues" (by the Rufus Beacham Orchestra?)
* "The Snow Is Falling" / "Misery Is In My Heart"
* "I Can't Do No More" / "Roly Poly" (aka "Back Home" by the Rufus Beacham Orchestra) (1952)
* "Walkin' And Talkin' (To Myself)" / "I'm Wonderin' And Wonderin'" (1952)

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