Ray Charles

Ray Charles was born in Water Monkey - Jen Shen Year of the 60-year Cycle of the Chinese Zodiac

Raymond Charles Robinson was born on September 23, 1930 in Albany Georgia. He is known as the Genius of Soul and brother Ray. Ray Charles revolutionized American music and by the time he died at 73 he was a legend. At the age of five Ray developed glaucoma and within two years his sight was gone. He sang in his Baptist choir and developed a feel for rhythms. He studied music at the State School for Deaf and Blind Children and with his ear for music he learned to play various instruments. He mother died by his early teens and Ray joined a country band called The Florida Playboys. He moved to Seattle in 1948 and formed the McSon Trio. Ray played easy-style jazz and eventually signed with Los Angeles-based Swing Time Records. He was the pianist for Lowell Fulson and his band. Ray?€™s first hit was Confession Blues in 1949. In 1951 his blockbuster was Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand. His raw delivery caught on with audiences and hits like Mess Around, Thing I used to Do, I?€™ve Got a Women and What?€™d I Say in 1959 pushed R&B and Gospel to a wide audience. Ray singed with ABC-Paramount and released his signature song Georgia on My Mind. He sang and interpreted songs from the Beatles and found himself in movies; Ballad in Blue in 1964. His trademark dark sunglass and dry humor made him a regular with Ella Fitzgerald and Barbra Streisand. Ray dealt with a long heroin problem. In the 1960s he was arrested for heroin and marijuana possession. He married and divorced twice and had 12 children. He died from liver disease in 2004 and was working on recording project with Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John and Norah Jones. Ray was awarded the Polar Music Prize in 1998 and inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1982.
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