Ray Charles is one of the all-time greatest hit makers in pop music history.  He has charted 91 records on the Billboard pop charts and many more on the R&B, Country and Adult Contemporary music charts.  Joel Whitburn of Record Research “Top Pop Singles 12 Edition” has him ranked at #3 in the 1960s and #18 All-Time.

Ray Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson on September 23, 1930 in Albany, Georgia.  The Genius was completely blind at the age of seven.  He studied classical piano and clarinet at State School for Deaf and Blind Children, in St. Augustine, Florida, 1937 through 1945.

His first Billboard Top 100 hit record charted on October 28, 1957 on Atlantic Records.  That recording is his classic…SWANEE RIVER ROCK (Talkin’ ‘Bout That River).  The single is the old classic  SWANEE RIVER…Ray made it his own by giving it a rocking R&B sound.  He added his distinctive style and voice, the single charted at #34 on the Billboard Top 100 and remained on the chart for 15 weeks.  The flip-side of the record is  I WANT A LITTLE GIRL…it did not chart.

In 1959 Ray would record his classic…WHAT’D I SAY  and as they say, the rest is history.  Ray Charles was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and was awarded a Grammy: for “Lifetime Achievement” in 1987.  He died in June of 2004 at the age of 73.

“The Genius” could not be put in any one genre…his music crossed all musical boundaries.  CLICK ON THE TITLE BELOW AND ENJOY…RAY CHARLES…AS HE SINGS HIS FIRST BILLBOARD TOP 100 HIT…”SWANEE RIVER ROCK” (Talkin’ ‘Bout That River).

Swanee River Rock

Till the next time—Joe

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