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Music – Ray Charles – You Don’t Know Me & A Little More Love & I’m Still A Fool For You


Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was known professionally worldwide as Ray Charles….was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer….who like to be called “Brother Ray” among friends and fellow musician….and often was referred to as “The Genius.”

Ray Charles was blind from the age of seven….who pioneered the genre of soul music during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records….in addition to which, he also contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records….most notably with his two Modern Sounds albums.  While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.

Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence….but his music was also influenced by country, jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues artists of the day….including Louis Jordan and Charles Brown….then in the late 1940’s, he became friends with Quincy Jones….a friendship that would last till the end of Charles’s life.  Frank Sinatra called him “the only true genius in show business,” although Charles downplayed this notion.

In 2002, Rolling Stone ranked Charles number ten on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”….as well as a number two on their November 2008 list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”….of which Billy Joel observed, “This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley”.

In 1983, Charles signed a contract with Columbia Records….and proceeded to record a string of country albums….as well as having single hits with duet singers such as George Jones, Chet Atkins, B. J. Thomas, Mickey Gilley, Hank Williams, Jr., Dee Dee Bridgewater (“Precious Thing”) and his longtime friend Willie Nelson….with whom he recorded the number 1 country duet “Seven Spanish Angels”.

Prior to the release of his first album for Warner, Would You Believe, Charles made a return to the R&B charts with a cover of The Brothers Johnson’s “I’ll Be Good to You”….which was a duet with his lifelong friend Quincy Jones and the singer Chaka Khan….which hit number one on the R&B chart in 1990 and won Charles and Khan a Grammy for their duet. Prior to this, Charles returned to the pop charts in another duet with the singer Billy Joel on the song “Baby Grand”….and in 1989, he recorded a cover of the Southern All Stars’ “Itoshi no Ellie” for a Japanese TV advertisement for the Suntory brand….releasing it in Japan as “Ellie My Love”….where it reached number 3 on its Oricon chart.

Charles’s 1993 album My World became his first album in some time to reach the Billboard 200….while his cover of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You” gave him a hit on the adult contemporary chart and his twelfth and final Grammy. By the beginning of the 1980s, Charles was reaching younger audiences with appearances in films and TV shows. In 1980, he appeared in the film The Blues Brothers….Charles’s version of “Night Time Is the Right Time” was played during the popular Cosby Show episode “Happy Anniversary”….although he never appeared on the show in person. In 1985, he appeared alongside a slew of other popular musicians in the USA for Africa charity recording “We Are the World”.  Charles’s popularity increased among younger audiences in 1991 after he appeared in a series of Diet Pepsi commercials….where he popularized the catchphrase “You Got the Right One, Baby”.  Two more slickly produced adult contemporary albums followed, Strong Love Affair (1996) and Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again (2002); both failed to chart and were soon forgotten.

Charles appeared at two separate Presidential inaugurations, performing for Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985 and for Bill Clinton’s first in 1993.  On October 28, 2001, several weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11….Charles appeared during Game 2 of the World Series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Yankees performing “America the Beautiful”. In 2003, he headlined the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., attended by the President, the First Lady, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

Also in 2003, Charles presented one of his greatest admirers, Van Morrison, with his award upon being inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame….as the two sang Morrison’s song “Crazy Love”….which is the performance that appears on Morrison’s 2007 album The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3. In 2003, Charles performed “Georgia on My Mind” and “America the Beautiful” at a televised annual banquet of electronic media journalists held in Washington, D.C. His final public appearance came on April 30, 2004, at the dedication of his music studio as a historic landmark in Los Angeles.

Bone Daddy attended the 2nd fight between Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard….and he says that the greatedst moment of the fight was when Ray Charles….who is Sugar Ray namesake….sang “America the Beautiful”….and literally set the stage by energizing “mainlining energy into Leonard’s bloodstream….as he went on to win the fight that will forever be known as NO MAS NO MAS….a fight which I have already posted in the boxing section herewith.

Any way you look at the work of this genius of American music….and when you consider how many years that this genius entertained the world….then how could you not want to watch this treasure over and over.

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