31 Wondrous Facts About Ray Charles For Music Lovers | Kidadl


31 Wondrous Facts About Ray Charles For Music Lovers

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Do you know which sensational music artist was the first person to explore and develop the soul music genre back in the '50s?

Ray Charles pioneered the soul music genre! He redefined American music and western music back in the '50s.

This true genius preferred to be called 'Brother Ray' by his friends and fellow musicians. Some people had a huge influence on his music, namely Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan, and Charles Brown.

Read on to find out more facts about Ray Charles Robinson and his musical career!

Early Life Of Ray Charles

Here are some facts about the early life of Brother Ray.

  • Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was born in Albany, Georgia, United States.
  • The father of Charles, Bailey Robinson, was a laborer, and his mother, Aretha Robinson, was a laundress.
  • He even had a younger brother, George, who passed away at the age of four.
  • To say that Charles had a rough childhood would be an understatement. He was born out of wedlock in poverty.
  • When he was born to his then 15-year-old mother, Aretha ran away to avoid the scandal that was brewing.
  • She returned to Greenville with baby Ray, and since Bailey and his wife had lost their child, they aided in the upbringing of young Ray.
  • Out of the blue, Bailey ran away, abandoning his son and his family.
  • No matter their financial situation, Charles and his mother were welcome at Wylie Pitman's Red Wing Cafe. This place not only piqued his interest in music, but he also learned how to play the piano here.
  • Charles attended the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine from 1937 until 1945. He was blind due to glaucoma but was not deaf.
  • He learned to play the organ, clarinet, alto saxophone, and trumpet.
  • When his mother died in 1945, he stopped going to school and began working.
  • To avoid confusion with boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, he dropped his last name.

Ray Charles' Career

Charles's life was pretty much on the road, like a true musician. Do you want to know how his career started? Let's dive into the facts about the career of this American singer-songwriter!

  • Charles moved to Jacksonville at a young age to live with a friend of his late mother, Charles Wayne Powell.
  • He stayed in Jacksonville for two years, earning a little as a musician. Just when he started to build a reputation there, he left because the little work wasn't enough for him.
  • He went to Orlando at the age of 16 and lived there in poverty as he couldn't find work. He wrote some arrangements for a pop music band.
  • After his failed attempt to be part of Lucky Millinder's band, he left Orlando too and went to Tampa.
  • Tampa was good for his early career but not good enough, so he left to go to Seattle, Washington, a year later. In Seattle, Charles became friends with Quincy Jones. He further created the McSon trio with McKee and Milton Garrett.
  • Charles yet again left Seattle in 1950 and moved to Los Angeles, leaving the McSon trio behind to tour with Lowell Fulson, a blues musician.
  • Charles signed with Atlantic Records in 1952. He then soared to the top of billboard's rhythm and blues, country, jazz, and pop charts.
  • In 1959, his contract with Atlantic Records came to an end. Instead of resigning, he entered into a contract with ABC-Paramount, and thus, began the time of his crossover success.
  • He was also one of the first black musicians who was given artistic control by ABC Records.
  • The contract that Charles and ABC had was a rather liberal one, which allowed him to discover his own record label, Tangerine Records, in 1962. ABC even distributed and publicized his label!
  • With the '70s came the downfall of his successful career and the death of his wife, yet he continued to record albums, and he even performed in The Blues Brothers.
  • In the mid-'80s, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame invited him as an inductee of the inaugural ceremony.
  • After the '80s until he died, Charles worked with Columbia Records, Warner Bros., Vanguard, Madacy, Concord, XIII Bis, and RCA.
  • He has had successful songs with George Jones, Chet Atkins, B. J. Thomas, Mickey Gilley, Hank Williams Jr., Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Willie Nelson.
  • He won 18 Grammy Awards throughout his career.
  • In 2002, Rolling Stone ranked him #10 on the '100 Greatest Artists of All Time' list. In 2004, he was honored with induction into the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame.
Ray Charles' Statue can be found in The Ray Charles Memorial in Greenville, Florida.

Records By Ray Charles

The Grammy Award winner, Ray Charles, recorded a lot of hit records throughout his life.

  • In 1949, the McSon trio recorded 'Confession Blues', which was a national hit. It held the second spot on the rhythm and blues chart on the billboard.
  • Charles recorded 11 albums during his Atlantic years, namely 'Ray Charles', 'The Great Ray Charles', 'Soul Brothers', 'Yes Indeed!', 'Ray Charles at Newport', 'What'd I Say', 'The Genius of Ray Charles', 'Ray Charles in Person', 'The Genius Sings the Blues', 'Soul Meeting', and 'The Genius After Hours'.
  • With ABC Records, Charles recorded several albums such as 'The Genius Hits the Road', 'Ray Charles and Betty Carter', 'Ray Charles Greatest Hits', 'Crying Time', 'A Portrait of Ray', 'Volcanic Action of My Soul', and many more!
  • He only recorded four albums with Crossover Records, two of which are 'Come Live With Me' and 'Renaissance'.
  • In the late '70s, Charles recorded four more albums with Atlantic Records.
  • In 1983, he started working with Columbia Records. He recorded 'Wish You Were Here Tonight', 'Do I Ever Cross Your Mind', 'Friendship', 'The Spirit of Christmas', 'From the Pages of My Mind', and 'Just Between Us' with them.
  • He even worked with Warner Bros. in the early '90s. 'Would You Believe', 'My World', and 'Strong Love Affair' were the only albums he recorded with them.
Written By
Bhavya Gupta

<p>With a degree in Economics from Sri Venkateswara College, affiliated with the University of Delhi, Bhavya is a proficient content writer who specializes in crafting content for companies operating in the marketing, growth, online media, and non-profit organization management industries. Drawing on her expertise, Bhavya is capable of crafting content that is both informative and engaging, helping businesses to connect with their target audience and drive growth.</p>

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