A report on Ray Charles and Billy Joel

Charles in the 1960s
Joel in 2009
Charles in 1968
Joel in 1972
Charles in 1971
Joel in 1994
Charles meeting with President Richard Nixon, 1972 (photo by Oliver F. Atkins)
Joel playing guitar in 1994
Charles at the 2003 Montreal International Jazz Festival, one of his last public performances
Joel at Madison Square Garden, circa 1995
Quincy Jones worked with Ray Charles.
Joel at Madison Square Garden, circa 2006
Star honoring Charles on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6777 Hollywood Boulevard
Joel performing in 2007
Statue by Andy Davis in Ray Charles Plaza in Albany, Georgia
Joel with his band performing in California
Joel with Mike DelGuidice in 2016
Joel performing at Madison Square Garden in 2016
Joel's daughter, Alexa Ray Joel
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry with the 2013 Kennedy Center honorees – Shirley MacLaine, Martina Arroyo, Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, and Herbie Hancock.
Joel receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Syracuse University, 2006
Joel in 1983

Billy Joel said, "This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley".

- Ray Charles

Alexa was given the middle name of Ray after Ray Charles, one of Joel's musical idols.

- Billy Joel
Charles in the 1960s

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John attending the premiere of The Union at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival

Elton John

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British singer, pianist and composer.

British singer, pianist and composer.

John attending the premiere of The Union at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival
Elton John (known then as Reg Dwight) studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London for five years.
The 1910 piano on which John composed his first five albums
John in 1971
John at the Musikhalle Hamburg, in March 1972
John on the piano during a live performance in 1975
John performing in 1975
John performing live in Dublin with Ray Cooper in 1979
John performing in 1986
John costume from the 1986 Tour de Force Australian concerts, on display in the Hard Rock Cafe, London
John with Luciano Pavarotti in Modena, 1996
John performs at the Skagerak Arena in Skien, June 2009
John has had two residencies at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. The first, The Red Piano, ran from 2004 to 2009, and the second, The Million Dollar Piano (sign pictured) ran from 2011 to 2018.
John on piano at the Concert for Diana, commemorating the 10 year passing of Princess Diana, at Wembley Stadium on 1 July 2007
John on World AIDS Day in Sydney, Australia, on 1 December 2011
John performing at the Allstate Arena, Chicago, in November 2013
John performing a tribute to the recently deceased George Michael at Twickenham, London, in June 2017
John performing in Tampa, Florida in November 2019 during his ongoing Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour
John with Bernie Taupin (left) in 1971. They have collaborated on more than thirty albums to date.
John with his husband David Furnish at Leicester Square in May 2019 for the London premiere of John's biopic film Rocketman
The lined drive to John's home in Woodside in Old Windsor, Berkshire
John wearing a remembrance poppy in 2015
John performing at Radio City Music Hall during the Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign
John and United States Secretary of State John Kerry discuss AIDS relief and the work of the Elton John AIDS Foundation at the United States Department of State in Washington, D.C., 24 October 2014
Sir Elton John's coat of arms. Granted to him in 1987, the shield includes piano keys and records. The Spanish motto, el tono es bueno, combines a pun on Elton John's name with the translation "the tone is good". The black, red and gold colours are also those of Watford F.C. The steel helmet above the shield faced forwards and with its visor open indicates that John is a knight.
Interior of Westminster Abbey where John performed "Candle in the Wind 1997" live for the only time at Princess Diana's funeral
John (second from left) alongside British Prime Minister Tony Blair (left), singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder and U.S. President Bill Clinton at the White House, February 1998
Advertisement for John's award-winning West End musical Billy Elliot on a Routemaster bus in London, 2007

Known simply as "Reggie", he played a range of popular standards, including songs by Jim Reeves and Ray Charles, as well as his own songs.

One month after the 11 September attacks, John appeared at the Concert for New York City, performing "I Want Love" as well as "Your Song" as a duet with Billy Joel.

Logotype symbolizing "a spectrum of many skills within the performing arts"

Kennedy Center Honors

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The Kennedy Center Honors are annual honors given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.

The Kennedy Center Honors are annual honors given to those in the performing arts for their lifetime of contributions to American culture.

Logotype symbolizing "a spectrum of many skills within the performing arts"
The 2006 honorees at the Kennedy Center on December 6, 2006, with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush; from left, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Steven Spielberg, Dolly Parton, Zubin Mehta, Smokey Robinson, Vice President Dick Cheney and Second lady
 Lynne Cheney
2005 Kennedy Center Honorees Julie Harris, Robert Redford, Tina Turner, Suzanne Farrell and Tony Bennett with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, in the Blue Room at the White House, December 4, 2005.
The surviving members of Led Zeppelin were honored in 2012 and are pictured here with President Barack Obama.
President Joe Biden giving a speech to the 2021 honorees Justino Díaz, Berry Gordy, Lorne Michaels, Bette Midler, and Joni Mitchell.
Kennedy Center honorees 2009 Mel Brooks, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro, and Bruce Springsteen, with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in the Blue Room, White House, December 6, 2009.
The 2019 honorees Earth, Wind & Fire, Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt and Sesame Street with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

1986 – Lucille Ball, Ray Charles, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, Yehudi Menuhin, and Antony Tudor

2013 – Martina Arroyo, Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, Shirley MacLaine, and Carlos Santana

Hal David at the ASCAP Awards in 2011

Songwriters Hall of Fame

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American institution founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer, music publisher/songwriter Abe Olman and publisher/executive Howie Richmond to honor those whose work represents and maintains the heritage and legacy of a spectrum of the most beloved English language songs from the world's popular music songbook.

American institution founded in 1969 by songwriter Johnny Mercer, music publisher/songwriter Abe Olman and publisher/executive Howie Richmond to honor those whose work represents and maintains the heritage and legacy of a spectrum of the most beloved English language songs from the world's popular music songbook.

Hal David at the ASCAP Awards in 2011
Johnny Mercer between 1946 and 1948
Sammy Cahn in 1950s
John Legend was honored in 2002 with the Abe Olman Scholarship

2001 – Billy Joel

1993 – Ray Charles

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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Museum and hall of fame located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States, on the shore of Lake Erie.

Museum and hall of fame located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States, on the shore of Lake Erie.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, showing Lake Erie in the foreground
The museum's New York City Annex (2008–2010) on Mercer Street, Soho
English guitarist, singer, and songwriter Eric Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio November 2015

Pete Townshend, Chuck Berry, Billy Joel, Sam Phillips, Ruth Brown, Sam Moore of Sam and Dave, Carl Gardner of the Coasters and Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum all appeared at the groundbreaking.

It featured clothing from Buddy Holly to Alice Cooper, from Ray Charles to David Bowie and from Smokey Robinson to Sly Stone.

Baby Grand

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"Baby Grand" is the fourth and final single released off Billy Joel's album The Bridge.

A duet with Joel and Ray Charles, the song is a ballad dedicated to the baby grand piano, and the relationship it can share with its players.

We Are the World

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Charity single originally recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa in 1985.

Charity single originally recorded by the supergroup USA for Africa in 1985.

Bob Geldof in 2007
Cyndi Lauper, studio badge, and the sweatshirt given to all attendees at A&M Studios in Hollywood, California on January 28, 1985
Back of the "We Are the World" sweater autographed by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie
Stevie Wonder was a featured soloist.
Bob Geldof sang as part of the chorus.
A military aircraft dropping food during the 1984–1985 Ethiopian famine
One of the hundreds of thousands of people who were injured by the destructive earthquake in Haiti

He was subsequently joined in the recording studio by the remaining USA for Africa artists, who included Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Cyndi Lauper, Bruce Springsteen, and Tina Turner.

Krall at a CD signing in Toronto in September 2007

Diana Krall

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Canadian jazz pianist and singer known for her contralto vocals.

Canadian jazz pianist and singer known for her contralto vocals.

Krall at a CD signing in Toronto in September 2007
Krall in 1998
Krall performing in November 2010 at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Krall performing in Cologne, Germany in October 2009

The album included covers of Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" (a hit on U.S. smooth jazz radio) and Joni Mitchell's "A Case Of You", and was also released as a video album.

She also joined Ray Charles on his Genius Loves Company album in 2004 for the song "You Don't Know Me", and her 2004 performance at Bell Centre, Montreal on June 29 was released as her second live CD and DVD, Live at the Montreal Jazz Festival, released on November 23, 2004.