Ray Charles

Blues, Musical Artist

1930 – 2004

71

Who was Ray Charles?

Ray Charles Robinson was an American singer-songwriter, musician and composer known as Ray Charles. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with 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. While with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company. Frank Sinatra called Charles "the only true genius in show business", although Charles downplayed this notion. He was blind from age seven. His best friend in music was South Carolina-born James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul", and like Charles an active lifelong Republican.

The influences upon his music were mainly jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, and country artists of the day such as Art Tatum, Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan, Charles Brown, and Louis Armstrong. His playing reflected influences from country blues, barrelhouse and stride piano styles.

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Born
Sep 23, 1930
Albany
Also known as
  • Ray Charles Robinson
  • The High Priest
  • The Genius of Soul
  • Brother Ray
  • Raymond Charles Robinson
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Ethnicity
  • African American
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Lived in
  • Albany
  • Greenville
Died
Jun 10, 2004
Beverly Hills
Resting place
Inglewood Park Cemetery

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"Ray Charles." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 2 Jul 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/ray_charles>.

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