RAY CHARLES POP ART PORTRAIT                       

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Ray Charles Biography
originally Ray Charles Robinson
( 1930 – 2004 )

(born September 23, 1930, Albany, Georgia, U.S.—died June 10, 2004, Beverly Hills, California) American pianist, singer, composer, and bandleader, a leading black entertainer billed as “the Genius.” Charles was credited with the early development of soul music, a style based on a melding of gospel, rhythm and blues, and jazz music.

When Charles was an infant his family moved to Greenville, Florida, and he began his musical career at age five on a piano in a neighbourhood café. He began to go blind at six, possibly from glaucoma, completely losing his sight by age seven. He attended the St. Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind, where he concentrated on musical studies, but left school at age 15 to play the piano professionally after his mother died from cancer (his father had died when the boy was 10).

Charles built a remarkable career based on the immediacy of emotion in his performances. After emerging as a blues and jazz pianist indebted to Nat King Cole's style in the late 1940s, Charles recorded the boogie-woogie classic “Mess Around” and the novelty song “It Should've Been Me” in 1952–53. His arrangement for Guitar Slim's “The Things That I Used to Do” became a blues million-seller in 1953. By 1954 Charles had created a successful combination of blues and gospel influences and signed on with Atlantic Records. Propelled by Charles's distinctive raspy voice, “I've Got a Woman” and “Hallelujah I Love You So” became hit records. “What'd I Say” led the rhythm and blues sales charts in 1959 and was Charles's own first million-seller.

Charles's rhythmic piano playing and band arranging revived the “funky” quality of jazz, but he also recorded in many other musical genres. He entered the pop market with the best-sellers “Georgia on My Mind” (1960) and “Hit the Road, Jack” (1961). His album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962) sold more than 1,000,000 copies, as did its single, “I Can't Stop Loving You.” Thereafter his music emphasized jazz standards and renditions of pop and show tunes.

From 1955 Charles toured extensively in the United States and elsewhere with his own big band and a gospel-style female backup quartet called The Raeletts. He also appeared on television and worked in films such as Ballad in Blue (1964) and The Blues Brothers (1980) as a featured act and sound track composer. He formed his own custom recording labels, Tangerine in 1962 and Crossover Records in 1973. The recipient of many national and international awards, he received 13 Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 1987. In 1986 Charles was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received a Kennedy Center Honor. He published an autobiography, Brother Ray, Ray Charles' Own Story (1978), written with David Ritz.

1957 Hallelujah, I Love Her So
1957 The Great Ray Charles
1958 Soul Brothers (with Milt Jackson)
1958 Ray Charles At Newport
1959 Yes Indeed
1959 Ray Charles
1959 The Fabulous Ray Charles
1959 What'd I Say
1959 The Genius of Ray Charles
1960 Ray Charles in Person
1960 Genius Hits The Road
1961 The Genius After Hours
1961 The Genius Sings The Blues
1961 Soul Meeting (with Milt Jackson)
1961 Do The Twist With Ray Charles
1961 Dedicated To You
1961 Genius + Soul = Jazz
1961 Ray Charles And Betty Carter
1962 Modern Sounds In Country And Western
1961 Modern Sounds In Country And Western Volume 2
1963 Ingredients In A Recipe For Soul
1964 Sweet And Sour Tears
1964 Have A Smile With Me
1965 Live In Concert
1965 Country And Western Meets Rhythm And Blues
1966 Crying Time
1966 Ray's Moods
1967 Ray Charles Invites You To Listen
1968 A Portrait of Ray
1969 I'm All Yours, Baby!
1969 Doing His Thing
1970 My Kind of Jazz
1970 Love, Country Style
1971 Volcanic Action of My Soul
1972 A Message From The People
1972 Through The Eyes of Love
1972 Jazz Number II
1974 Come Live With Me
1975 Renaissance
1975 My Kind of Jazz III
1975 Live In Japan
1976 Porgy And Bess (with Cleo Laine)
1977 True To Life
1978 Love And Peace
1979 Ain't It So
1980 Brother Ray Is At It Again
1983 Wish You Were Here Tonight
1984 Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
1985 Friendship
1985 The Spirit of Christmas
1986 From The Pages of My Mind
1988 Just Between Us
1989 Seven Spanish Angels And Other Hits
1990 Would You Believe
1993 My World
1996 Strong Love Affair
1996 Berlin, 1962
2002 thanks For Bringing Love Around
1962 The Ray Charles Story
1967 A Man And His Soul
1970 The Best of Ray Charles 1956-58
1971 25th Anniversary in Show Business Salute to Ray Charles
1982 A Life In Music 1956-59
1987 The Right Time
1988 Greatest Hits Vol. 1 1960–67
1989 Anthology
1990 The Collection
1991 Blues Is My Middle Name
1991 The Birth of Soul 1952–59
1992 The Complete Atlantic Rhythm And Blues Recordings
1993 The Living Legend
1994 The Best Of... The Atlantic Years
1995 Classics

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