Ray Charles, born Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), was a pioneering Amerihave the right to pianist, musician and also entertainer that, by presenting gospel creates into secular music, aided lay the structure for Soul music. Charles would also apply his signature vocal shipment to whatever from nation music to pop criteria over the course of his five decade-lengthy career, achieving international fame and also recognition. By the moment of his passing he had actually become an Amerihave the right to musical icon.

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Struck blind at the age of salso, Charles found his vocation as a rhythm and also blues artist at an early stage in his life. For a lot of his adult years Charles struggled through a heroin addiction, which he ultimately overcame. His relationships with woguys were frequently exploitative; twice married, he fathered 12 youngsters by 7 various women. Like many African-Amerihave the right to musicians, Charles proficient racism and was occasionally criticized for not speaking out more. Yet through his groundbreaking artisattempt across musical genres Charles broke down obstacles of race and prejudice and also won international accase. In a testimony to Charles" cross-racial appeal, his hit song "Georgia on My Mind" was the called State Track by Georgia"s state legislature in 1979.


Early years

Ray Charles Robinkid was born out-of-wedlock in Albany type of, Georgia to Bailey and Aretha Robinson. His household moved to the little Northern Florida hamlet of Greenville when he was only a few months old. Ray’s father was not a significant part of his life as he worked and had actually two even more households, leaving Ray’s mom to raise the household via the aid of his father"s initially wife, Mary Jane. When Ray was 5 years old, his younger brvarious other, George, who was about four, drowned in an exterior tub. Ray saw him autumn and tried to pull him out, but was unable to conserve him. Ray started going blind soon after the traumatic occasion and also was totally blind by the age of seven. The cause is mainly believed to be undiagnosed glaucoma. He attfinished college at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, as a state-funded charity case; he learned how to read Braille, and also to compose music and play miscellaneous musical instruments, focusing on the piano.

After he left college, Charles started functioning as a musician in Florida in numerous bands that played various formats of music including jazz and also nation. After both of his parents passed amethod, he moved to Seattle, Washington in 1947 at the age of 17, wbelow he began to make a name for himself in clubs, playing in the jazz-blues trio format. It was roughly this time that he started to go by the name Ray Charles to stop association and confusion with boxer Sugar Ray Robinchild. He quickly began recording, initially for the Downbeat label (later on known as Swingtime), achieving his initially hit songs through "Confession Blues" (1949) and "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand" (1951) before signing with Atlantic Records in 1952.

Center years

With Atlantic Records, Ray Charles found the perfect setting for his blossoming talent, and conveniently began to gain the rewards. Charles scored his first Atlantic hit in 1953 with the release of the Ahmet Ertegun-written "Mess Around" single, and also had one more hit via his variation of "It Should Have Been Me," yet his career got in high gear via 1955’s "I Got a Womale." A seminal minute in the appearance of spirit music, “I Got a Woman” was a rewording and reworking of the gospel tune, “Jesus is All the World to Me.” Charles adhered to it up through "This Little Girl of Mine," additionally tape-recorded in 1955, and "Drvery own in My Own Tears," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," and also "Lonely Avenue," in 1956, all substantial hits on the R&B charts. His style in this duration characterized early on spirit, revolving approximately gospel songs converted through secular lyrics, and also blues ballads.

A basic document of this phase of his career is the live album Ray Charles In Human (originally titled What’d I Say, currently obtainable bundled via Ray Charles in Newport as Ray Charles Live), recorded from a concert organized before a mostly African-Amerihave the right to audience at Herndon Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on May 28, 1959. The album marked the first taped appearance of “What’d I Say,” Charles’ break-out crossover hit. “What’d I Say” was a song initially produced by spontaneous improvisation at the finish of a late-1958 or early-1959 present once Charles had actually finimelted his reserved set through twelve or so minutes to spare. Ultimately, after being re-recorded in New York and also masterfully pared dvery own from its epic ten-minute-plus length and split right into two parts for release as a single, it would certainly reach #6 on the Billboard Pop Charts. The song’s application of gospel-style call-and-response vocals to earthy, sensuous moaning is maybe the finest and also most popular instance of Charles’ edgy approach to blfinishing sacred and secular musical creates.

In 1959, Ray relocated from Atlantic Records to ABC-Paramount, signing a very favorable contract that afforded him a production deal, profit-sharing and eventual ownership of his masters. Ray had currently begun to present interemainder in making music beyond the borders of the blues-gospel synthesis while at Atlantic Records. At ABC Records he was provided an excellent deal of manage over his music, broadened his approach to even more straightforward pop music, while keeping his soulful R&B approach, resulting in such hits as "Unchain My Heart," "You Are My Sunshine," and the #1 hits on the Billboard pop charts, "Georgia On My Mind" and "Hit the Road, Jack." In 1962, Charles surprised his new, larger audience via his landmark album Modern Sounds in Counattempt and Western Music, a groundbreaking combination of soul and nation music that checked out #1 on the album charts and also consisted of the numbers "I Can"t Stop Loving You" (which itself visited #1 on the singles chart) and also "You Don"t Know Me."

In 1961, Charles canceled a concert scheduresulted in take area in the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia to protest versus segregated seating. He wasn"t banned from the state of Georgia as inaccurately asserted in the renowned film Ray, though Charles did need to pay $800 compensation to the promoter.

Later years

In 1965, Charles was arrested for possession of heroin, a drug to which he had actually been addicted for 17 years. It was his 3rd arremainder for the offense, but he avoided prikid time after kicking the halittle in a clinic in Los Angeles, The golden state. He spent a year on parole in 1966.

After the 1960s, Charles" releases were hit-or-miss out on, through some massive hits and also critically acclaimed job-related, and some music that was dismissed as unoriginal and stassist. He focused mainly on live performances, although his version of "Georgia On My Mind," a Hoagy Carmichael song originally composed for a girl named Georgia, was a hit and also shortly was prodeclared the state song of Georgia on April 24, 1979, through Charles performing it on the floor of the state legislature. He also had actually success with his distinctive variation of "America the Beautiful."

Film audiences enthusiastic for a heart music and also R&B resurgence, fueled in part by the music performances of comic front guys John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the April 22, 1978, episode of Saturday Night Live, snapped up albums, greatly requested Top 40 releases and also swelled the box office take of summer 1980"s The Blues Brothers. In one of the film"s significant cameos, Ray Charles plays a blind music save owner and provides a lively "Shake Your Tailfeather."

Then in the late 1980s, a number of events enhanced Charles" acknowledgment among young audiences. In 1985, "Night Time is the Right Time" was featured in the episode "Happy Anniversary" of The Cosby Show. The cast members provided the song to percreate a wildly renowned lip-synch that aided the present secure its wide viewer-ship. In 1986, he performed his rendition of "America the Beautiful" at WrestleMania 2. Charles" brand-new link via audiences assisted secure a spokesman-ship for Diet Pepsi. In this highly successful proclaiming campaign, Charles popularized the catchexpression "You Got the Right One, Baby!" As well, Charles made appearances on "The Super Dave Osbourne Sjust how," where he percreated and also appeared in a few vignettes wright here he was someexactly how driving a automobile. At the elevation of his newfound fame in the early nineties, Charles did guest vocals for rather a couple of projects. He also showed up (with Chaka Khan) on lengthy time friend Quincy Jones" hit "I"ll Be Good To You" in 1990, from Jones" album Back on the Block.

Final performances

Charles percreated his timeless "Georgia On My Mind" in the time of the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.

In 2002 Charles headlined during the Cognac festival in southerly France. At one allude in the performance a young fan climbed to his feet and began to sing an acappella variation of Charles" beforehand song, "Mess Around." Charles adored this show of respect and bravery and also decided to present this fan his admiration by playing the song.

One of Charles" last public performances remained in 2003 at a televised yearly digital media journalist banquet held in Washington, D.C. He performed "Georgia On My Mind" and also "America the Beautiful." Ray Charles" final public appearance came on April 30, 2004, at the dedication of his music studio as a historical landnote in the city of Los Angeles.

He died at age 73 on June 10, 2004 (11:35 a.m.) of liver condition at his residence in Beverly Hills, California, surrounded by household and also friends. He was interred in the Inglehardwood Park Cemetery in Ingletimber, California.

His last album, Genius Loves Company type of, released two months after his fatality, consists of duets through assorted admirers and contemporaries: B.B. King, Van Morrikid, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Gladys Knight, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Idina Menzel, and Johnny Mathis. The album won eight Grammy Awards, consisting of 5 for Ray Charles for Best Pop Vocal Album, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and also Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for "Here We Go Again" with Norah Jones, and Best Gospel Performance for "Heaven Help Us All" via Gladys Knight; he likewise received nods for his duets via Elton John and also B.B. King.

Ray biopic and also legacy

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

Before shooting might start, but, director Taylor Hackford lugged Foxx to meet Charles, that insisted that they sit down at 2 pianos and also play together. For two hrs, Charles tested Foxx, who revealed the depth of his talent, and finally, Charles stood up, hugged Foxx, and also provided his blessing, proclaiming, "He"s the one... he have the right to carry out it."

Charles had the ability to attfinish a reflecting of the completed film, however he passed away before it opened up in theaters. The film"s credits note that he is made it through by 12 kids, 21 grandkids, and 5 great grandkids. Many of today"s artists proceed to honor the legacy of Charles. The 2005 Grammy Awards were dedicated to him.

In August 2005, the USA Congress honored Charles by renaming the former West Adams Station short article office in Los Angeles the "Ray Charles Station."

Controversies and criticisms

Regardless of his support of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s and his assistance for the American Civil Rights Movement, Charles courted debate as soon as he toured South Africa in 1981 in breach of an worldwide boycott of the country bereason of its apartheid plan.

A infamous ladies" male, Charles was married twice and fathered twelve youngsters by seven various woguys. His first marital relationship, to Eileen Williams on July 31, 1951, resulted in one kid and ended in divorce in 1952. Three added kids are from his second marriage, on April 5, 1955, to Della Beatrice Howard Robinboy. She was not among his original Raelettes. Their marriage finished in divorce in 1977. In a 60 Minutes profile, he admitted to Ed Bradley that he "auditioned" his female back-up singers. The saying was, "To be a Raelette, you"ve obtained to let Ray."

From the moment of his switch from directly rhythm and also blues through a combo, Charles was regularly accused of musically "marketing out." He left behind his classical formulation of rhythm and blues to sing country music, pop songs, and also soft-drink commercials. Yet in the process, he went from a niche audience to worldwide fame.

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Halls of Fame and Other Honors

In addition to winning dozens of Grammy Awards in his career, Charles additionally obtained numerous other honors. In 1976, he ended up being one of the initially honorees of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, who well-known him as a musician born in the state, a complete three years before his variation of "Georgia On My Mind" was made right into the official state song. In 1981, he was offered a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was one of the first inductees to the Rock & Roll Hevery one of Fame at its inaugural ceremony in 1986. In 1991, he was inducted to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, and also in 2004 he was inducted to the Jazz Hall of Fame.