Hello, Ray Charles Robinson, born on September 23, 1930 in Albany, Georgia. Ray was raised in Geenville, Florida. He was partially blind at the age of five, completely blind at the age of seven (glaucoma). In 1957 he charted his first Billboard Top 100 hit record, SWANEE RIVER ROCK (Talkin’ ‘Bout That River), a #34 pop hit. He charted his first Billboard R&B hit in 1955 with his classic recording of I GOT A WOMAN. Both of these hit records and all of his hits between 1954 and 1960 were on Atlantic Records.
In 1960 Ray Charles charted his first record for his new label ABC-Paramount. That first hit was STICKS AND STONES a #40 pop hit and a #2 R&B hit. His next hit for ABC-Paramount made its Billboard Hot 100 debut and R&B debut on September 26, 1960. That recording is the all-time great, GEORGIA ON MY MIND written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell. Franke Trumbauer had the first major hit recording of the song in 1931 when his recording reached the Top 10. Ray Charles a native of Georgia, recorded it in 1960 and it appeared in his album “The Genius Hits The Road”. Rays version released as a single record became a #1 hit on the Hot 100, on November 14, 1960. The single charted at #3 on the Billboard R&B chart. The single was a huge success selling over 1 million copies and Ray Charles was awarded a “Gold Record”.
Ray won a Grammy for Pop Male Vocal and a Grammy Hall of Fame award for his hit record. The single is ranked at #44 on the Rolling Stone magazine Top 500 Songs list. In 1979 GEORGIA ON MY MIND became Georgia’s state song. He would continue charting hit after hit in his hall of fame career. He would chart 91 hits on the Billboard pop chart and 86 hits on the Billboard R&B chart. Ray Charles is one of the biggest hit makers of all-time.
In 1986 he was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 1987 he was awarded a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement. Ray Charles was a huge part of the great music of the 1950’s, 1960’s and beyond. His recordings are some of the best from the “Golden Era Of Rock And Roll.”
Ray Charles died from liver disease in 2004 at the age of 73. Jamie Foxx won an Oscar for his portrayal of Ray Charles in the 2004 movie “Ray”.
Till the next time—Joe