Ray Charles

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

Category: Performer

Inducted in: 1986

Inducted by: Quincy Jones

Nominated in: 1986

First Eligible: 1986 Ceremony

Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 1986 (ranked #12) .

Essential Albums (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3Amazon CD
Ray Charles (1957)
The Genius of Ray Charles (1959)
Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)

Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
Mess Around (1953)
I've Got A Woman (1954)
What'd I Say (Pt. 1 & 2) (1959)
Georgia On My Mind (1960)
Hit The Road Jack (1961)
Unchain My Heart (1961)
Hallelujah I Love Her So (1961)
I Can't Stop Loving You (1962)
Seven Spanish Angels (1984)

Ray Charles @ Wikipedia

Ray Charles Videos


12 comments so far (post your own)

he sucks

Posted by AirSuppleee on Thursday, 12.18.08 @ 21:31pm

AirSupplee, you really need to start coming up with more substance in your comments before anybody starts to take you seriously. Comments like "They're awesome" or "Creed is terrible" (as true as that may be) or "Ray Charles sucks" could be written by anyone. Your not much of a critic. As for Ray Charles, I was never much of a fan but show the guy some respect. Comments like "he/she/they suck" should be left to groups like New Kids On The Block I'd think.

Posted by Keebord on Friday, 12.19.08 @ 10:12am

I don't think that Ray Charles should be included in the "Performer" category. His influence on rock music (and music in general) overbears his talent as a soul performer....

Posted by Bessarabian Incubus on Thursday, 08.27.09 @ 07:18am


01. 1986 - RAY CHARLES

Posted by Roy on Wednesday, 10.27.10 @ 18:14pm


01. 1986 - Ray Charles
02. 2011 - Neil Diamond

Posted by Roy on Wednesday, 09.7.11 @ 20:48pm


Ray Charles (1986)
Neil Diamond (2011)

Posted by Aaron O'Donnell on Wednesday, 09.7.11 @ 20:56pm

I first saw Ray Charles in The Blues Brothers. I loved the song "Shake A Tail Feather" that he sang in the film. While Sam Cooke pioneered the soul genre of soul, Ray did a lot more by fusing gospel powered vocals with jazz, blues and country. His style of singing is some of the best I've ever seen in any rock and roll singer. Ray Charles is a wonderful man and I love his music!

Posted by Andrew on Wednesday, 10.10.12 @ 12:05pm

The word genius is overused to the point that it no longer retains any meaning. Ray Charles is one of those rare exceptions. The man blended country/western, jump blues, piano blues, gospel, rhythm and blues, jazz, and so many other styles into a solid package.

Anyone who is not yet a Ray Charles fan or is just beginning to discover his music should check out the 3-disc retrospective The Birth of Soul: The Complete Atlantic Rhythm and Blues Recordings(1951 - 1959). Charles developed and expanded his style over the years, but it's his earliest recordings which I always return to the most.

Posted by Zach on Wednesday, 10.10.12 @ 17:23pm

Lots of musicians possess elements of genuis, but only Ray Charles embodied the term when it was given to him as a nickname. Charles showed his genuis by putting gospel powered vocals with elemets of blues to create an exuberant style that would become known as soul music and while Sam Cooke is seen as the father of soul, Ray was the guy responsible for developing the music.

While recording at Atlanic during the 50s, the innovatie bandleader and singer tore down the wall between religious and secular music. In his own words, he brought "a bridging of gospel with the rhythm patterns of the blues." The sounds Ray heard growing up in the church found it's way into the music he made as an adult.

However, Ray didn't stop there as for the next few decades, country and jazz made a regular appearance in his music. There was also his singing; the style he used was among the most emotional and identifiable of any 20th century singer, right up there with Billie Holiday and Elvis Presley.

Ray is a complete and well-rounded musical talent who despite being blind, was able to make wonderful music. His influence on rock and roll can not be ignored either as people from Joe Cocker and Van Morrison to Steve Winwood and Billy Joel have drawn from Ray's piano palying and his voice.

Personally, I got introduced to Ray Charles by watching "The Blues Brothers" in the scene when he, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were singing "Shake a Tail Feather".

BTW, guys, if you were to look at all the comments that I've posted on this site, which one would you pick to be my best one and why?

Posted by Andrew on Monday, 05.27.13 @ 19:12pm

I read a great story about Ray in RS a few months ago. A longtime producer was reminicing about how he got in a studio back in his youth & was able to see Ray in action.

Said he was sitting at his piano, with a 12 member backing band, & Ray was playing all his parts with 1 hand, reading braille sheet music with the other & singing all his parts at same time. Once the take was finished, Ray would critique the band on the parts they had been playing during the take.

What a musician!

Posted by Paul in KY on Tuesday, 05.28.13 @ 07:36am

I just recently viewed the 2004 biopic starring Jamie Foxx. Foxx did justice to The Genius with his portrayal and rightfully earned the Oscar for Best Actor at the 2005 Academy Awards. What especially impressed about his performance was how he captured Ray's various physical tics and vocal inflections. At times, I honestly felt like I was watching the real Ray Charles instead of an actor playing him.

While there are some inaccuracies in the film, it does hit on several of the key events in Ray's life (i.e. the drowning death of his younger brother, meeting Ahmet Ertegun and joining Atlantic Records, the formation of his backing group The
Raelettes, his stint in rehab to kick his heroin addiction, attending the declaration of his version Of Georgia on My Mind as the official state song of Georgia, etc.). I would have loved to have seen more of his later years since the film roughly stops around 1966 (aside from his appearance at the Georgia State Legislature in 1979), but with a running time of 2 1/2 hours, it's understandable why the movies focuses on his upbringing, rise to fame, stuggles, and artistic peaks during the first four decades of his life.

I highly recommend Ray for both novices and devotees of Ray Charles. Like any great artist, he was a complex person with multiple layers and achieved more in his lifetime than most other musicians ever will. Long live The Genius!

Posted by Zachary on Saturday, 07.13.13 @ 21:41pm

Lots of musicians possess certain elements of genius, but only Ray Charles completely embodied the term so much that it was given to him as a nickname.

Charles displayed his musical genius by combining gospel and blues elements into a passionate, enthusiastic style that would later be known as soul music and while singers like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson did a great deal in pioneering the music, Ray did even more to devise a new form of black music.

While recording at Atlantic Records in the 50s, the innovative singer and bandleader tore down the boundaries between religious and secular music. The gospel sounds Ray heard as a child found a way into the music he made as an adult. Charles fostered what he called "a crossover between gospel and the patterns of the blues."

But he didn't end there: over the next few decades, plenty of jazz and country flavors infused his music too. His musicianship is as complete and well-rounded as any other singer the 20th century has produced.

Then, there was his singing. His style is among the most emotional and identifiable any 20th century singer, ranking up with the likes of Elvis Presley and Billie Holiday. He was also a fantastic keyboard player and arranger.

It was his time at Atlantic where some of his best songs like "I Got a Woman," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," and the feverish "What'd I Say." After these groundbreaking years, Charles moved on to Paramount, where he claimed the unlikeliest of genres as his own with 1962's Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, but the brilliance of his 1950s and 1960s work can't obscure the fact that he made few classic songs after the mid-60s, although he recorded and performed until the year before he passed away.

Throughout his career, Charles never let up his pursuit that uncategorizable blend of stylistic expression known as soul. One might ask, what is soul? To Ray Charles, "It's a force that can bring light to a room. The force radiates from a sense of knowing where you've been and what it means. Soul is a way to live, but it's always the rough way."

Although, I consider Sam Cooke to be the father of soul music, Ray Charles deceives a spot there because of his innovativeness, his prowess on the piano and his passion when he sings. I can personally felt that passion and energy whenever I watch him in "The Blues Brothers." or when I hear a song like "Georgia On My Mind."

His influence on rock and roll can not be ignored either. If you listen to Joe Cocker's rendition of "With A Little Help From my Friends," or hear Steve Winwood or Billy Joel play piano with passion and power, you can hear Ray Charles.

Posted by Andrew on Wednesday, 02.26.14 @ 23:30pm

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