"Ray Charles" was the stage name of "Ray Charles Robinson" (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004). He overcame the handicap of blindness to become a pioneering American pianist and soul musician who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues and brought a soulful sound to everything from country music to pop standards to a now-famous rendition of "America the Beautiful." Frank Sinatra called him "the only true genius in the business."
Ray Charles Robinson was born in Albany, Georgia to Bailey and Aretha Robinson. The family moved to the small North Florida hamlet of Greenville when he was only a few months old. His father wasn't around much as he worked and had two more families, leaving his mother to raise the family with the aid of his father's wife Mary Jane, who helped raise Ray. When Ray was 5 his younger brother, George, who was around 4, drowned in an outside tub. Ray witnessed him fall and tried to pull him out, but he was too heavy for Ray. Ray began going blind soon after and was totally blind by the age of seven. He said that the causes were undiagnosed. (* Note - there are sources which attribute Ray's blindness to glaucoma.) He attended school at the Flor...
|Alias||The Genius, Brother Ray|
|Born||September 23, 1930|
|Died||June 10, 2004; Beverly Hills, California|
|Genre||Rhythm and blues|
|Occupation||Singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, bandleader|
|Instrument||Singing, piano/keyboard instrument|
|First album||''The Great Ray Charles''|
|Latest album||''Genius and Friends''|
|Notable albums||''The Genius of Ray Charles'', ''Live in Person'', ''Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music''|
|Notable songs||"I Got a Woman", "What'd I Say", "Georgia On My Mind"|
|Associated acts||David "Fathead" Newman, Raelettes|