Ray Charles Biography – Overview
Ray Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson on September 23, 1930 in Albany, Georgia. Very early in his career, this American musician had the nickname “The Genius” bestowed upon him, and he became the embodiment of that term in so many areas of music. He was a vocalist, performer, songwriter, bandleader and arranger who played keyboards and reeds. He was an innovator in music who comfortably, confidently and successfully worked in rhythm and blues, gospel, country, jazz and rock. He was an astute businessman who took the unprecedented action of insisting upon artistic control and ownership of his own master recordings, formed his own publishing companies and his own record labels.
In the 1950s, he broke down the barriers of sacred and secular music, fused elements of gospel, jazz and blues together and mixed it with a fiery, fervid style that would come to be known as soul music. The same powerful gospel/jazz/blues mix would create the very foundation for rock and roll.
In the 1960s, he helped integrate country and pop music with his crossover success, most notably with his Modern Sounds of Country and Western Music, Vol. 1 and 2, both of which were released in 1962. It kicked the doors wide-open for new audiences to find country music and to embrace Ray Charles. Throughout his entire career, Ray Charles continued to mix musical styles at will, and with great success, scoring major...