In the world of music, there are a few names that immediately come to mind. These legends have changed the industry and left an undeniable mark on history.
One of these icons is Ray Charles Robinson Sr., often referred to as “The Genius.”
Charles was born in September 1930 in Albany, Georgia, and lost his sight during childhood due to glaucoma. This didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams, however. Charles went on to become one of the most iconic and influential singers in American history.
He pioneered soul music and helped it become mainstream. His voice was like no other, and his ability to touch people’s hearts with his music is still unmatched today.
He began teaching himself how to play piano and guitar when he was just seven years old. By the time he was in his teens, he had already begun performing in local clubs and bars. It wasn’t long before he started to gain attention for his unique sound and style.
What made Ray Charles unique
Ray Charles was a true original, and there are many things that made him unique.
First, he was a master of multiple genres, effortlessly moving between soul, R&B, country, gospel, and jazz.
Second, he had a distinctive voice that was both powerful and emotionally resonant.
Third, he was an incredible piano player, with a style that blended elements of blues and jazz.
Fourth, he wrote many of his own songs, which were often autobiographical in nature.
And fifth, he was blind from an early age, which gave him a unique perspective on the world. These five things made Ray Charles a truly gifted and one-of-a-kind artist.
Top 5 songs of Ray Charles career
Ray Charles was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. A pioneer of soul music, he blended elements of gospel, jazz, and blues to create a uniquely American sound. Over the course of his career, he released dozens of classic songs that have gone on to become standards.
Here are 5 of the best:
1. “I Got a Woman” – Released in 1955, this was one of Charles’ first big hits. It features his signature blend of gospel and blues, and its distinctive piano riff has been endlessly copied and sampled.
2. “Georgia on My Mind” – A gentle ballad that became an anthem for the state of Georgia, this song was released in 1960. It features some of Charles’ most soulful singing, and its elegant piano playing is a showcase for his skill as a musician.
3. “Hit the Road Jack” – A rollicking uptempo tune, this 1961 song became one of Charles’ most popular hits. It features his trademark vocal style, as well as a memorable horn arrangement.
4. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” – Another ballad, this 1962 song is one of Charles’ most heartbreaking performances. Its simple piano accompaniment allows his vocals to shine, and its lyrics are among his most poetic.
5.”The Thrill is Gone” – A cover of a B.B. King song, this 1969 recording is one of Charles’ most effective blues performances. His raw vocal delivery and impassioned piano playing make it a standout track from his later years.
These five songs only scratch the surface of Ray Charles’ incredible body of work. A true genius, he changed American music forever and left behind a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come.
Listen to Ray Charles sing ‘Georgia on my Mind’