Ray Charles

Charles in the 1960s
Charles in 1968
Charles in 1971
Charles meeting with President Richard Nixon, 1972 (photo by Oliver F. Atkins)
Charles at the 2003 Montreal International Jazz Festival, one of his last public performances
Quincy Jones worked with Ray Charles.
Star honoring Charles on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6777 Hollywood Boulevard
Statue by Andy Davis in Ray Charles Plaza in Albany, Georgia

American singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer.

- Ray Charles
Charles in the 1960s

118 related topics

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Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946

Rhythm and blues

Genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s.

Genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s.

Louis Jordan in New York City, c. undefined July 1946
The habanera rhythm shown as tresillo (lower notes) with the backbeat (upper note)
Fats Domino in 1956
Piano excerpt from the rumba boogie "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" (1949) by Professor Longhair. 2–3 claves are written above for rhythmic reference.
3–2 clave written in two measures in cut-time
Tresillo answered by the backbeat, the essence of clave in African American music
Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley beat" is a clave-based motif.
Ray Charles in 1971
Ruth Brown was known as the "Queen of R&B"
Della Reese
Sam Cooke
Eric Burdon & the Animals (1964)

He also cites Otis Rush, Ike Turner and Ray Charles, as R&B artists who employed this feel.

Cooke in 1963

Sam Cooke

American singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur.

American singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur.

Cooke in 1963
Cooke in Billboard, 1965, released posthumously
Grave of Sam Cooke in the Garden of Honor at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California

The other headliners were Little Willie John, Ray Charles, Ernie Freeman, and Bo Rhambo.

Wonder in 1994

Stevie Wonder

American singer and musician, who is credited as a pioneer and influence by musicians across a range of genres that includes rhythm and blues, pop, soul, gospel, funk and jazz.

American singer and musician, who is credited as a pioneer and influence by musicians across a range of genres that includes rhythm and blues, pop, soul, gospel, funk and jazz.

Wonder in 1994
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Wonder performing in 1973, during the early years of his "classic period"
Wonder backstage at the 1990 Grammy Awards
Wonder in 2006
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Wonder receiving a standing ovation in the East Room of the White House in 2011

Mainly covers of Ray Charles's songs, the album included a Wonder and Paul composition, "Sunset".

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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

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

Al Green (1973), one of the genre's major pioneering artists

Soul music

Popular music genre that originated in the African American community throughout the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Popular music genre that originated in the African American community throughout the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Al Green (1973), one of the genre's major pioneering artists
Ray Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles
James Brown was known as the "Godfather of Soul"
Sam Cooke is acknowledged as one of soul music's "forefathers".
Solomon Burke recorded for Atlantic in the 1960s
Aretha Franklin is widely known as the "Queen of Soul"
Marvin Gaye shifted to a soul sound with his 1971 hit "What's Going On"
Levi Stubbs singing lead with the Four Tops in 1966
Soul singer Otis Redding was an electrifying stage presence
Isaac Hayes performing in 1973
Adele performing in 2016

Ray Charles is often cited as popularizing the soul music genre with his series of hits, starting with 1954's "I Got a Woman".

Davis in 1972

Sammy Davis Jr.

American singer, dancer, actor, comedian, film producer and television director.

American singer, dancer, actor, comedian, film producer and television director.

Davis in 1972
Davis and host Steve Allen rehearsing for the premiere of The Steve Allen Show in 1956
The Rat Pack (left to right): Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop at the Cal-Neva Casino, Las Vegas
Davis performing in 1966
Davis at home in 1986
Davis in the Western Wall, Jerusalem, during a tour in Israel, 1969
Davis with his third wife, Altovise Gore, in 1986
Davis and May Britt in 1960
Davis during the 1963 March on Washington
In the Yellow Oval Room of the White House with President Richard Nixon, March 4, 1973
Davis's grave in the Garden of Honor, Forest Lawn Glendale

Guests included Muhammad Ali, Paul Anka, Jack Barry, Dr. Joyce Brothers, Ray Charles, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Howard Cosell, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Joe Franklin, Cliff Gorman, Richie Havens, Danny Kaye, Jerry Lewis, Hal Linden, Rich Little, Butterfly McQueen, Minnie Pearl, Boots Randolph, Tex Ritter, Phil Rizzuto, The Rockettes, Nipsey Russell, Sally Struthers, Mel Tillis, Ben Vereen, and Lawrence Welk.

American blues singer Ma Rainey (1886–1939), the "Mother of the Blues"

Blues

Music genre and musical form which originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs and spirituals.

Music genre and musical form which originated in the Deep South of the United States around the 1860s by African-Americans from roots in African-American work songs and spirituals.

American blues singer Ma Rainey (1886–1939), the "Mother of the Blues"
A minor pentatonic scale;
Musicologist John Lomax (left) shaking hands with musician "Uncle" Rich Brown in Sumterville, Alabama
Sheet music from "Saint Louis Blues" (1914)
Bessie Smith, an early blues singer, known for her powerful voice
A typical boogie-woogie bass line
John Lee Hooker
Blues legend B.B. King with his guitar, "Lucille"
Texas blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1983
Italian singer Zucchero is credited as the "Father of Italian Blues", and is among the few European blues artists who still enjoy international success.
Eric Clapton performing at Hyde Park, London, in June 2008
Duke Ellington straddled the big band and bebop genres. Ellington extensively used the blues form.
The music of Taj Mahal for the 1972 movie Sounder marked a revival of interest in acoustic blues.

There are also 16-bar blues, such as Ray Charles's instrumental "Sweet 16 Bars" and Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man".

Vernon Dalhart was the first country star to have a major hit record

Country music

Genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time, and American folk music forms including Appalachian, Cajun, Creole, and the cowboy Western music styles of New Mexico, Red Dirt, Tejano, and Texas country.

Genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and spirituals, old-time, and American folk music forms including Appalachian, Cajun, Creole, and the cowboy Western music styles of New Mexico, Red Dirt, Tejano, and Texas country.

Vernon Dalhart was the first country star to have a major hit record
The Carter Family, are a dynasty of country music and began with (left to right) A.P. Carter, wife Sara Carter and Maybelle Carter
Roy Acuff
Publicity photo of Roy Rogers and Gail Davis, 1948
Bill and Charlie Monroe (1936). Bill Monroe (1911–1996) and the Blue Grass Boys created the bluegrass by the end of World War II.
Hank Williams
Johnny Cash
Willie Nelson (2009)
John Denver (1975)
Dolly Parton
A reunited Eagles in 2008
George Strait, a pioneer of the neotraditionalist movement and dubbed the "King of Country," Strait is one of the best selling musicians of all-time.
Garth Brooks
Shania Twain performing during her Up! Tour in 2004
Steve Earle performing in Ireland in 2007
Carrie Underwood at the 2019 American Music Awards
Miranda Lambert in 2019
Taylor Swift at the 2019 American Music Awards
Florida Georgia Line whose hit song "Cruise" drew attention to the bro-country genre
Emmylou Harris in 2008
Kacey Musgraves became one of the most controversial figures in contemporary country music.
Olivia Newton-John singing in Sydney in 2008
Keith Urban in 2007
Shania Twain in 2011
Lorenzo Antonio
Engelbert Humperdinck had hits with country songs
Vanha Isäntä, a Finnish country rock band, performing at the Helsinki Festival's open-air concert in Kaivopuisto in 1974. Seppo Sillanpää (violin) on the left and Olli Haavisto (guitar) on the right.
Example of cowboy hat and cowboy boots, two prominent components of country music fashion
Western wear shirt design, with snap fasteners
Painting of a cowboy singing by Thomas Eakins (1890)
Freddy Fender performing Tejano music after The Johnny Cash Show in Nashville, Tennessee (1977)
Bob Childers performing Red dirt in Okemah, Oklahoma (2001)
Al Hurricane and Al Hurricane Jr. performing New Mexico music at a fiesta in Old Town Albuquerque (2014)

In 1962, Ray Charles surprised the pop world by turning his attention to country and western music, topping the charts and rating number three for the year on Billboard's pop chart with the "I Can't Stop Loving You" single, and recording the landmark album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.

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

Kennedy Center Honors

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

Joel in 2009

Billy Joel

American singer, pianist, composer and songwriter.

American singer, pianist, composer and songwriter.

Joel in 2009
Joel in 1972
Joel in 1994
Joel playing guitar in 1994
Joel at Madison Square Garden, circa 1995
Joel at Madison Square Garden, circa 2006
Joel performing in 2007
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

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