Ray Charles Robinson, known as Ray Charles and sometimes referred to as “The Genius”, was an American singer, songwriter, musician and composer, born in September 23, 1930. He was the man that virtually invented the soul music in 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel and blues styles into early performances.
At the age of six he contracted glaucoma, which left him blind. Despite his initial protest, Charles attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, where he developed his musical talent.
Charles made his first single called “Confession Blues” in L.A. and recorded for several West Coast Labels and than he scored a Top 10 R&B hit with “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand” in 1951. In 1953, he became a arranger and pianist for Guitar Slim (Eddie Jones). When Slim’ s hit “The Things That I Used to Do”, arranged by Ray Charles, sold a million copies, he returned to recording.
In 1955, Charles recorded his own composition “I Got a Woman” that brought him to national prominence. Later , he recorded the well-known songs such as “Drown in My Own Tears”, “A Fool For You” and “This Little Girl of Mine”, and in 1957 recorded his instrumental jazz album The great Ray Charles.
In November 1959, he signed with ABC-Paramount Records and he received national acclaim and a Grammy Award with the single “Georgia on My Mind”.
With the album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music in 1962, he brought country to the mainstream of music. His version of “I Can’t Stop Loving You” he stayed at No. 1 for teen weeks.
In 1972, Charles released the album A Message from the People, which included protest songs about poverty and civil rights. Later, in 1975 he recorded his version of Stevie Wonder’s hit “Living for the City” and won another Grammy.
Charles made his return on R&B charts in 1990 with the cover of “I’ll Be Good to You” with Chaka Khan. The song won them a Grammy for their dual work.
Ray Charles was ranked as number 10 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and he has been considered as the “only true genius in show business”.