Ray Charles Facts

Ray Charles Facts
Ray Charles was a blind American musician best known for pioneering the soul music genre in the 1950s. He was born Ray Charles Robinson on September 23rd, 1930 in Albany, Georgia, to Aretha Williams and Bailey Robinson. His mother was a sharecropper and his father was a labourer. Ray was interested in mechanics as a child but his musical interest began when he was three and he heard Wylie Pitman play boogie woogie on an upright piano. Pitman taught Ray how to play, but at the age of 4 he was already beginning to lose his sight. Ray was blind by the age of 7 due to glaucoma. Ray attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine Florida from 1937 until 1945. He furthered his musical education while there, learning braille music as well. After his mother's death when he was 15 he began to pursue music professionally.
Interesting Ray Charles Facts:
Ray Charles' younger brother George drowned in the laundry tub when he was 4 years old.
While attending school in St. Augustine Florida, Ray learned to use Braille to read and write and compose music. He learned how to play the sax, trumpet, and clarinet while also furthering his talent on the piano and organ.
Ray was talented at playing the blues, country, and gospel.
At the age of 15 Ray Charles toured in the South on the 'Chitlin Circuit'.
At the age of 16 Ray Charles moved to Seattle where he met Quincy Jones, who became a lifelong friend and collaborator.
Ray's early major influences included Nat King Cole and Charles Brown.
In 1949 Ray Charles released 'Confession Blues' which was his first single. It did well on the R&B charts and he followed with 'Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand' and 'Kissa Me Baby'.
Ray Charles signed a deal with Atlantic Records in 1953 and his first R&B hit with the label was 'Mess Around'.
In 1954 Ray Charles' song "I Got a Woman' reached number 1 and his music style became known as soul.
Ray Charles soon earned the nickname 'The Genius' for his ability to blend multiple styles. He was also known as the 'Father of Soul'.
Ray Charles won a Grammy Award in 1960 for the song 'Georgia on My Mind'. He also won a Grammy for 'Hit the Road Jack'.
Throughout his career into the mid-1960s Ray Charles battled an addiction to heroin, but he managed to kick the habit at a clinic in L.A.
Ray's career continued but his successes were not as many in his later career, however he maintained a high level of respect throughout.
Ray Charles underwent hip replacement surgery in 2003 which was successful. He planned to tour again but began to experience other illnesses and had to cancel.
Ray Charles died on June 10th, 2004, at 73 years of age.
Ray's final album was released two months after he died, titled 'Genius Loves Company'.
Ray Charles had 12 children and was married twice.
Ray Charles was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2015.

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