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Ray Charles Robinson


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Ray Charles Robinson  was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer.

Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray." He was often

referred to as "The Genius." Charles was blinded during childhood.

Born 90 years ago on September 23d, the singer and pianist surmounted daunting obstacles

to forge a singular soul sound. Ray Charles was never one to abide by barriers, norms, or

expectations. In his music, as in his life, he shattered them all. 

He made his first commercial recordings at age 18 in the style of Nat “King” Cole.

By the mid-1950s, Charles found his own sound that fused the fervor of gospel music with

the earthiness of the blues, paving the way for soul music.

Charles’s legacy includes some 10,000 live performances; hundreds of recordings,

including “Hit the Road, Jack,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Busted”; and the Ray

Charles Foundation, which has channeled $45 million toward education and hearing

disorders. “Ray,” a vibrant biopic, was released in October 2004, earning Jamie Foxx

an Academy Award for wondrously summoning the singer’s style and soul.

Charles had died that June, but lived long enough to hear the movie’s final cut.


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