Skip to Next Poll »
3
Featured Artist - RAY CHARLES
Featured Artist - RAY CHARLES Photo

ALBUMS:
1957 Ray Charles
  The Great Ray Charles
1958 Yes Indeed!
  Soul Brothers (with Milt Jackson)
1959 Ray Charles at Newport
  What'd I Say
  The Genius of Ray Charles
  The Original Ray Charles
  The Fabulous Ray Charles
1960 Ray Charles in Person
1961 The Genius Sings the Blues
  Soul Meeting (with Milt Jackson)
  The Genius After Hours
  The ABC years[edit]
1960 The Genius Hits the Road
1961 Dedicated to You
  Ray Charles and Betty Carter
  Genius + Soul = Jazz
1962 Ray Charles Greatest Hits
  Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
  Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Volume Two
1963 Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul
1964 Sweet & Sour Tears
  Have a Smile with Me
1965 Live in Concert
  Together Again
1966 Crying Time
  Ray's Moods
1967 Invites You to Listen
1968 A Portrait of Ray
  I'm All Yours Baby!
1969 Doing His Thing
1970 My Kind of Jazz
  Love Country Style
1971 Volcanic Action of My Soul
1972 A Message From the People
  Through the Eyes of Love
  Jazz Number II
  1973–2004[edit]
1974 Come Live With Me
1975 Renaissance
  My Kind of Jazz Part 3
  Live in Japan
1976 Porgy and Bess (with Cleo Laine)
1977 True to Life
1978 Love & 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
  Friendship
1985 The Spirit of Christmas
1986 From the Pages of My Mind
1988 Just Between Us
1990 Would You Believe
1993 My World
1996 Strong Love Affair
  Berlin '62
2002 Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again
2004 Genius Loves Company
  Ray Charles Celebrates a Gospel Christmas
  With the Voices of Jubilation
  Live at the Olympia, 2000
  Posthumous studio productions of previously unreleased material[edit]
2005 Genius & Friends
2006 Ray Sings, Basie Swings
2010 Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters

Ray Charles - 

Ray Charles was the musician most responsible for developing soul music. Singers like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson also did a great deal to pioneer the form, but Charles did even more to devise a new form of black pop by merging '50s R&B with gospel-powered vocals, adding plenty of flavor from contemporary jazz, blues, and (in the '60s) country. Then there was his singing; his style was among the most emotional and easily identifiable of any 20th century performer, up there with the likes of Elvis and Billie Holiday. He was also a superb keyboard player, arranger, and bandleader. The brilliance of his 1950s and '60s work, however, can't obscure the fact that he made few classic tracks after the mid-'60s, though he recorded often and performed until the year before his death.

Blind since the age of six (from glaucoma), Charles studied composition and learned many instruments at the St. Augustine School for the Deaf and the Blind. His parents had died by his early teens, and he worked as a musician in Florida for a while before using his savings to move to Seattle in 1947. By the late '40s, he was recording in a smooth pop/R&B style derivative of Nat "King" Cole and Charles Brown. He got his first Top Ten R&B hit with "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand" in 1951. Charles' first recordings came in for their fair share of criticism, as they were much milder and less original than the classics that would follow, although they're actually fairly enjoyable, showing strong hints of the skills that were to flower in a few years.

In the early '50s, Charles' sound started to toughen as he toured with Lowell Fulson, went to New Orleans to work with Guitar Slim (playing piano on and arranging Slim's huge R&B hit, "The Things That I Used to Do"), and got a band together for R&B star Ruth Brown. It was at Atlantic Records that Ray Charles truly found his voice, consolidating the gains of recent years and then some with "I Got a Woman," a number-two R&B hit in 1955. This is the song most frequently singled out as his pivotal performance, on which Charles first truly let go with his unmistakable gospel-ish moan, backed by a tight, bouncy horn-driven arrangement.

Throughout the '50s, Charles ran off a series of R&B hits that, although they weren't called "soul" at the time, did a lot to pave the way for soul by presenting a form of R&B that was sophisticated without sacrificing any emotional grit. "This Little Girl of Mine," "Drown in My Own Tears," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," "Lonely Avenue," and "The Right Time" were all big hits. But Charles didn't really capture the pop audience until "What'd I Say," which caught the fervor of the church with its pleading vocals, as well as the spirit of rock & roll with its classic electric piano line. It was his first Top Ten pop hit, and one of his final Atlantic singles, as he left the label at the end of the '50s for ABC.

One of the chief attractions of the ABC deal for Charles was a much greater degree of artistic control of his recordings. He put it to good use on early-'60s hits like "Unchain My Heart" and "Hit the Road Jack," which solidified his pop stardom with only a modicum of polish attached to the R&B he had perfected at Atlantic. In 1962, he surprised the pop world by turning his attention to country & western music, topping the charts with the "I Can't Stop Loving You" single, and making a hugely popular album (in an era in which R&B/soul LPs rarely scored high on the charts) with Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Perhaps it shouldn't have been so surprising; Charles had always been eclectic, recording quite a bit of straight jazz at Atlantic, with noted jazz musicians like David "Fathead" Newman and Milt Jackson.

Charles remained extremely popular through the mid-'60s, scoring big hits like "Busted," "You Are My Sunshine," "Take These Chains From My Heart," and "Crying Time," although his momentum was slowed by a 1965 bust for heroin. This led to a year-long absence from performing, but he picked up where he left off with "Let's Go Get Stoned" in 1966. Yet by this time Charles was focusing increasingly less on rock and soul, in favor of pop tunes, often with string arrangements, that seemed aimed more at the easy listening audience than anyone else. Charles' influence on the rock mainstream was as apparent as ever; Joe Cocker and Steve Winwood in particular owe a great deal of their style to him, and echoes of his phrasing can be heard more subtly in the work of greats like Van Morrison.

One approaches sweeping criticism of Charles with hesitation; he was an American institution, after all, and his vocal powers barely diminished over his half-century career. The fact remains, though, that his work after the late '60s on record was very disappointing. Millions of listeners yearned for a return to the all-out soul of his 1955-1965 classics, but Charles had actually never been committed to soul above all else. Like Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley, his focus was more upon all-around pop than many realize; his love of jazz, country, and pop standards was evident, even if his more earthy offerings were the ones that truly broke ground and will stand the test of time. He dented the charts (sometimes the country ones) occasionally, and commanded devoted international concert audiences whenever he felt like it. For good or ill, he ensured his imprint upon the American mass consciousness in the 1990s by singing several ads for Diet Pepsi. He also recorded three albums during the '90s for Warner Bros., but remained most popular as a concert draw. In 2002, he released Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again on his own Crossover imprint, and the following year began recording an album of duets featuring B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Michael McDonald, and James Taylor. After hip replacement surgery in 2003, he scheduled a tour for the following summer, but was forced to cancel an appearance in March 2004. Three months later, on June 10, 2004, Ray Charles succumbed to liver disease at his home in Beverly Hills, CA. The duets album, Genius Loves Company, was released two months after his death. The biopic Ray hit screens in the fall of 2010 and was a critical and commercial success, with the actor who portrayed Charles in the move, Jamie Foxx, winning the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role. Two more posthumous albums, Genius & Friends and Ray Sings, Basie Swings, appeared in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Charles' recordings began reappearing in various facsimile editions, reissues, re-masters, and box sets as his entire recorded legacy received the attention that befits a legendary American artist.

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/ray-charles-mn0000046861/biography

| Closed on 12/27/13 at 05:00PM
FanIQ Pts? No | Locker Room, Music | Multiple Choice Opinion Poll
5 Fans 
40%a. 10 (Great Artist)
40%b. 7-9 (Like most of his songs)
20%c. 5-6 (Liked a few/some songs)
0%d. 1-4 (No Interest / Never heard of him)
0%e. His music sucks!

  
1 Comment | Sorted by Most Recent First | Red = You Disagreed
Vote for your favorite comments. Fans decide the Top Comment (3+ votes) and also hide poor quality comments (4+ votes).
#1 | 267 days ago

Fantastic
10 (Great Artist)  

Post a Comment   Already a user? Sign in here
Join FanIQ - It's Free
FanIQ is the ultimate free community for sports fans.
Talk sports with fans from all over - 1,649,417+ Comments
Track your game picks - 38,670,182,382+ Sports Predictions
Prove you know sports - 116,275+ Trivia Questions
Find fans of your teams - 11,453,110+ New Friends
8-08; Fan IQ's Summertime Music Poll in Review
Asked by hclcdestin | Locker Room, Music | 5 questions asked 08/08/14
40 opinions | 3 comments | Last by Lobotomy Jones
What is your single of the year #4
Asked by huskerdoug2009 | Locker Room, Music | 10 questions asked 12/10/12
120 opinions | 5 comments | Last by SOONERS1980
What is your single of the year #2
Asked by huskerdoug2009 | Locker Room, Music | 10 questions asked 12/10/12
110 opinions | 5 comments | Last by SOONERS1980
What is your single of the year #3
Asked by huskerdoug2009 | Locker Room, Music | 10 questions asked 12/10/12
120 opinions | 5 comments | Last by SOONERS1980
Which song is your favorite
Asked by huskerdoug2009 | Locker Room, Music | 10 questions asked 12/07/12
240 opinions | 9 comments | Last by SOONERS1980