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Ray Charles
Biography, albums, The Very Best Of Ray Charles
  - Sheet music by Ray Charles.

Added on June 11, 2004
Ray Charles died in his residence in Los Angeles on June 10, 2004 at the age of 73.

Article added in June 2000
He is an icon of American jazz, soul and popular music: Ray Charles. The Very Best of Ray Charles, released in March 2000, is an album that should be part of all CD collections because it lives up to its title's ambition. After more than 50 years in show business, Ray Charles can look back on a career rich in great songs and bestsellers. Among the 16 songs on this compilation, 15 have been recorded between 1954 and 1965. Only Seven Spanish Angels with Willie Nelson is from 1984 (a Country & Western #1 hit).
 
Born in Albany, Georgia, in 1930, Ray Charles began going blind at the age of five. One year later, he was totally sightless. He grew up in a poor neighborhood in Greenville, Florida. Ray Charles was first encouraged by local pianist Wylie Pitman to play music. Art Tatum, Nat King Cole, swing, gospel, blues and country music influenced Ray Charles while he attended the state school for the blind in St. Augustine. In 1945, his beloved mother died. Instead of returning to school after the funeral, he went to Jacksonville, Florida, to play with local combos. In Tampa, he met with guitarist Gosady McGee. One day, Ray Charles asked his friend what the farthest point from Tampa was. Seattle was the response - and that's where he went to in March 1948.
 
Soon, Ray Charles managed to make a name for himself. McGee followed him to Seattle and, together with bassist Milton Garred, they formed the McSon Trio ("Mc" for McGee, "Son" from Robinson). Jack Lauderdale, the head of the Los Angeles-based Down Beat Records, discovered him. In 1949, Ray Charles gave out his debut 78 (under the name of The Maxin Trio) with Confession Blues, which became a national R&B hit. One year later, he moved to Los Angeles where he recorded Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand (this time under his own name). Then he became a featured member of label-mate Lowell Fulson's band. Ray Charles evolved and grew out of being a Charles Brown imitator. Because of financial difficulties of his Swing Time label, Atlantic Records bought his contract in 1951. In September of the following year, he made his first recordings for his new bosses Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson: It should've Been Me.
 
By November 1954, Ray Charles had assembled a quality combo with Donald Wilkerson, tenor saxophone, and David "Fathead" Newman, baritone saxophone. I've Got A Woman was the song they recorded the same month and which ended the taboo of not mingling blues and gospel. It was Ray Charles' breakthrough and a number 1 R&B hit. From then on, his career was unstoppable.
 
Besides I've Got A Woman, the sixteen songs on The Very Best of Ray Charles include A Fool For You (R&B #1 in 1955), What'D I Say Parts I & II (R&B #1 in 1959, Pop #6 in 1959), Georgia On My Mind (R&B #3, Pop #1 in 1960), Hit The Road Jack (R&B and Pop #1 in 1961), Unchain My Heart (R&B #1, Pop #9 in 1961) and many other songs in their best, original versions. - Ray Charles CDs at Amazon.com.


Ray Charles: The Very Best of Ray Charles. Rhino Entertainment Company, March 2000. Get the CD from Amazon.com, Amazon.de or Amazon Canada. - Sheet music by Ray Charles. - Ray Charles CDs at Amazon.com.



Added on March 6, 2005:
At the end of February 2005, Jamie Foxx  has won a well-deserved Oscar as Best Actor for his impersonation of Ray Charles in the film Ray. Get the film Ray on DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Canada, Amazon.de.


Added on February 15, 2005:

Ray Charles has won eight Grammys:
- RECORD OF THE YEAR: HERE WE GO AGAIN - Ray Charles & Norah Jones - Track from GENIUS LOVES COMPANY.
- ALBUM OF THE YEAR: GENIUS LOVES COMPANY - RAY CHARLES & V.A.
- BEST POP COLLABORATION WITH VOCALS: HERE WE GO AGAIN - Ray Charles & Norah Jones.
- BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM: GENIUS LOVES COMPANY - RAY CHARLES & VARIOUS ARTISTS.
- BEST GOSPEL PERFORMANCE: HEAVEN HELP US ALL - RAY CHARLES & GLADYS KNIGHT - Track from GENIUS LOVES COMPANY.
- BEST INSTRUMENTAL ARRANGEMENT ACCOMPANYING VOCALISTS: OVER THE RAINBOW - Victor Vanacore, Arranger (Ray Charles & Johnny Mathis - Track from GENIUS LOVES COMPANY).
- BEST ENGINEERED ALBUM, non-classical: GENIUS LOVES COMPANY.
- BEST SURROUND SOUND ALBUM: GENIUS LOVES COMPANY.


Ray Charles: Genius Loves Company. EMI, 2004. Get the CD from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de. Ray Charles' duets with Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Bonnie Raitt, James Taylor, B. B. King and others, posthumously released, once more remind us of the loss of a famous pianist, singer and songwriter.

Added on December 21, 2004
Genius Loves Company
Genius Loves Company has been nominated for 10 Grammies: Best Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year ("Here We Go Again" with Norah Jones), Best Gospel Performance ("Heaven Help Us All" with Gladys Knight), Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance ("Sinner's Prayer" with BB King), TWO for the Best Vocal Collaboration category (Here We Go Again with Norah Jones and Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word with Elton John), Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals (Victor Vanacore for "Over the Rainbow" with Johnny Mathis), Best Engineered Album (non-classical), Best Surround Sound Album.  The landmark CD ist Ray Charles' 250th recording effort.

By early December 2004, Genius Loves Company has become the best selling recording of Ray Charles' six-decade career. The CD was released on August 31 and has been a near-permanent fixture at the top of the Billboard charts since that time. As of December 1, when the last Soundscan numbers were reported, it had sold in excess of 1.2 million copies in the United States alone.

During his lifetime, Ray Charles has received 12 GRAMMY Awards, the first four in 1960 for "Let the Good Times Roll," "The Genius of Ray Charles," and his signature "Georgia on My Mind" (in two categories). In 1987, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) presented him with the "Lifetime Achievement Award." In January 2004, just two months before the completion of Genius Loves Company, NARAS President Neil Portnow, presented Charles with the "President's Merit Award" at his long-time offices and studios in central Los Angeles, a facility built in 1960 and one that was recently designated an historical landmark by the city.

Ray, a new movie based on Charles' life that stars Jamie Foxx, opened in October 2004 in America to rave reviews. On December 1, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH, of which Charles was an original inductee, opened a special exhibition featuring memorabilia and archival material from his prolific career. - Ray Charles CDs at Amazon.com.



Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

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© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.