Ray Charles (born Ray Charles Robinson), 1930-2004, was known as the "Father of Soul" but was also adept at other musical forms including jazz, gospel, and country and western. Charles was a singer, pianist, saxophonist, composer, and band leader. He became blind at age six, and was sent to the St. Augustine (Florida) School for the Deaf and the Blind where he learned to play, compose, and arrange music; and to read and write music in Braille. By the time he graduated at age fifteen, he was an orphan. Later moving to Seattle, he signed to Atlantic Records in 1952. His first hit in 1954, "I Got a Woman," was a mixture of gospel and rhythm and blues, inventing what was later called soul. Other hits include "What'd I Say," Hit the Road Jack," "I Can't Stop Loving You," "Busted," "Let's Go Get Stoned," "America the Beautiful," "Georgia on My Mind," "Born to Lose," and "I Can't Stop Loving You." Charles was working on an album of duets at the time of his death from liver disease.

Related categories 9

All Music Guide: Ray Charles
Provides a biography, discography, photo, song highlights, and related links.
AskMen.com: Ray Charles
Pictures, biography and comments.
Grudge Match: Stevie Wonder vs. Ray Charles
Commentary on who would win in a game of darts.
Kennedy Center: Ray Charles
Biography and picture from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which honored Charles in 1986.
Ray Charles is God - He Knows All, He Sees All
Original song-by-song analysis of Charles' greatest records and compositions.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Ray Charles
Inductee biography and timeline.
Todd Peach's Ray Charles Page
Includes a collection of lyrics.
BBC News: Ray Charles
Obituary with photos. (June 10, 2004)
NPR : Ray Charles, American Legend, Dies at 73
American musical icon Ray Charles died of complications from liver disease today at his Beverly Hills home. In a career that lasted more than half a century, Charles defied categorization and brought his soulful stylings to jazz, pop, country and rhythm and blues. [8:20 Realaudio broadcast] (June 10, 2004)
NPR : Remembering Ray Charles
Day to Day remembers the life and songs of musician Ray Charles, who died today at the age of 73 after a long battle with cancer. [4:05 Realaudio broadcast] (June 10, 2004)
NPR : Ray Charles Sept. 11 Tribute
Tavis Smiley speaks to Ray Charles about the events of Sept. 11, 2001 and about his version of the song America the Beautiful. [10:19 Realaudio broadcast] (September 11, 2002)
NPR : Ray Charles
Tavis Smiley interviews music legend Ray Charles about his new CD Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again. Charles talks about the album, his career and why after 50 years in the business, he still finds enjoyment in making music. [27:33 Realaudio broadcast] (August 01, 2002)
NPR : Singer and Pianist Ray Charles
Retrospective of interviews and live recordings as part of a Soul Music Week series. [16:14 Realaudio broadcast] (August 27, 2001)
The NPR 100 : Ray Charles
Robert Siegel talks to musician Ray Charles about his 1959 song 'What'd I Say'. The song was chosen by NPR listeners as part of the 'NPR 100'... 100 pieces of music that are among the best American music of the 20th century. (February 21, 2000)
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