The GTC is honored to celebrate what would have been Ray Charles Robinson’s 83rd birthday. Ray Charleswas born on this day, way back in 1930, in Albany, Georgia and went from humble beginnings to creating the sound we now call soul music. (Sure we could debate what part Jerry Wexler and Sam Cook had in the origins of the sound but let’s do that on another day) One thing for sure, Ray’s musical cocktail of jazz, big band, country, blues and gospel was a fresh and original sound when he was making his mark in the 1950’s and 60’s. And that is a fact Jack! Not bad for a kid who lost his sight at an early age due to untreated glaucoma. Charles’ amazing 60 year career which saw major crossover success in all genres of music and won 12 Grammys, has been the influence of many a artist to this day. Influence you can here in music by artists Michael Jackson, Willie Nelson, Steve Winwwod, Eric Burdon, Otis Redding, Norah Jones, James Brown and Wilson Picket.
“This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley.” – Billy Joel
You should take the time to read up on Ray Charles extraordinary life and achievements in one of the hundreds of biographies in book and/or online.
We would simply like to thank Ray Charles for four outstanding, out of many, recordings that made music a better place.
“Unchain My Heart” (’61)
“Hit The Road Jack” (’60)
“Georga On My Mind” (’60)
What about some insightful words from the Birthday man himself…
“My music had roots which I’d dug up from my own childhood, musical roots buried in the darkest soil.” – Ray Charles
“The fact of the matter is, you don’t give up what’s natural. Anything I’ve fantasized about, I’ve done.” – Ray Charles
“What makes my approach special is that I do different things. I do jazz, blues, country music and so forth. I do them all, like a good utility man.” – Ray Charles
“Music’s been around a long time, and there’s going to be music long after Ray Charles is dead. I just want to make my mark, leave something musically good behind. If it’s a big record, that’s the frosting on the cake, but music’s the main meal.” – Ray Charles
R.I.P. Ray Charles (1930-2004) Your legacy as The Godfather of Soul will live on….