Being Kind to Strangers (Adventures of Tom McLemore Book 1)

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Publicity photos of the trio are some of the earliest known photographs of Charles. In , his performance in a Miami hotel impressed Henry Stone , who went on to record a Ray Charles Rockin' record which never became particularly popular.

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During his stay in Miami, Charles was required to stay in the segregated but thriving black community of Overtown. Stone later helped Jerry Wexler find Charles in St. Late in , Charles recorded " I've Got a Woman ". The lyrics were written by bandleader Renald Richard. Charles claimed the composition. In , " What'd I Say " reached No. By , he was not only headlining black venues such as the Apollo Theater in New York, but also bigger venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival where his first live album was recorded in He hired a female singing group, The Cookies , and renamed them The Raelettes.

Sammy Davis Jr. The event featured the top four prominent disc jockey of Los Angeles. Charles reached the pinnacle of his success at Atlantic with the release of " What'd I Say ", which combined gospel, jazz, blues and Latin music. Charles said he wrote it spontaneously while he was performing in clubs with his band. Despite some radio stations banning the song because of its sexually suggestive lyrics, the song became his first top ten pop record.

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Later in , he released his first country song a cover of Hank Snow 's " I'm Movin' On " and recorded three more albums for the label: a jazz record The Genius After Hours , ; a blues record The Genius Sings the Blues , ; and a big band record The Genius of Ray Charles which was his first Top 40 album, peaking at number His contract with Atlantic contract expired in , and several big labels offered him record deals; choosing not to renegotiate his contract with Atlantic, he signed with ABC-Paramount in November Written by Stuart Gorrell and Hoagy Carmichael , the song was Charles's first work with Sid Feller , who produced, arranged and conducted the recording.

By late , Charles had expanded his small road ensemble to a big band , partly as a response to increasing royalties and touring fees, becoming one of the few black artists to cross over into mainstream pop with such a level of creative control. The case was eventually dropped, as the search lacked a proper warrant by the police, and Charles soon returned to music. In the early s, on the way from Louisiana to Oklahoma City, Charles faced a near-death experience when the pilot of his plane lost visibility, as snow and his failure to use the defroster caused the windshield of the plane to become completely covered in ice.

The pilot made a few circles in the air before he was finally able to see through a small part of the windshield and land the plane. Charles placed a spiritual interpretation on the event, claiming that "something or someone which instruments cannot detect" was responsible for creating the small opening in the ice on the windshield which enabled the pilot to land the plane safely. In , Charles's career was halted once more after he was arrested for a third time for possession of heroin. He agreed to go to rehab to avoid jail time and eventually kicked his habit at a clinic in Los Angeles.

His cover version of " Crying Time ", originally recorded by country singer Buck Owens, reached number 6 on the pop chart and helped Charles win a Grammy Award the following March. In , he had a top-twenty hit with another ballad, " Here We Go Again ". Charles's renewed chart success, however, proved to be short lived, and by the s his music was rarely played on radio stations.

Charles nonetheless continued to have an active recording career. Most of his recordings between and evoked strong reactions: people either liked them a lot or strongly disliked them. Charles was often criticized for his version of "America the Beautiful" because it was very drastically changed from the song's original version.

In July Margie Hendricks died at 38 from a drug overdose which shocked Ray. However, the label had now begun to focus on rock acts, and some of their prominent soul artists, such as Aretha Franklin , were starting to be neglected. In April , his version of "Georgia on My Mind" was proclaimed the state song of Georgia, and an emotional Charles performed the song on the floor of the state legislature. He later defended his choice of performing there after insisting that the audience of black and white fans would integrate while he was there. In , Charles signed a contract with Columbia.

He recorded a string of country albums and had hit singles in duets with singers such as George Jones , Chet Atkins , B. Prior to this, Charles returned to the pop charts with " Baby Grand ", a duet with the singer Billy Joel. In , Charles appeared in commercials for the New Jersey Lottery to promote its campaign "For every dream, there's a jackpot". In , Charles performed "Georgia on My Mind" and "America the Beautiful" at a televised annual banquet of electronic media journalists held in Washington, D.

His final public appearance was on April 30, , at the dedication of his music studio as a historic landmark in Los Angeles. In , Charles had successful hip replacement surgery and was planning to go back on tour, until he began suffering from other ailments. He died at his home in Beverly Hills, California of complications resulting from acute liver disease , [3] on June 10, , at the age of His final album, Genius Loves Company , released two months after his death, consists of duets with admirers and contemporaries: B.

The album included a version of Harold Arlen 's and E. Harburg 's " Over the Rainbow ", sung as a duet with Johnny Mathis, which was played at Charles's memorial service. Charles was married twice and had 12 children with ten different women. His first child, Evelyn, was born in to his companion, Louise Flowers.

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His first marriage was to Eileen Williams Robinson and lasted from July 31, , until the following year, Their first child together, Ray Jr. Charles was not in town for the birth because he was playing a show in Texas. The couple had two more children, David and Robert Charles felt that his heroin addiction took a toll on Della during their marriage.

Charles had a six-year-long affair with Margie Hendricks, one of the original Raelettes, and in they had a son, Charles Wayne. His affair with Mae Mosley Lyles resulted in another daughter, Renee, born in Charles first tried recreational drugs when he played in McSon Trio and was eager to try them as he thought they helped musicians create music and tap into their creativity. He later became addicted to heroin for sixteen years. He was first arrested in the s, when he and his bandmates were caught backstage with loose marijuana and drug paraphernalia, including a burnt spoon, syringe, and needle.

The arrest did not deter Charles's drug use, which only escalated as he became more successful and made more money. Charles was arrested again on a narcotics charge on November 14, , while waiting in an Indiana hotel room before a performance. The detectives seized heroin, marijuana, and other items. Charles, then 31, stated that he had been a drug addict since the age of The case was dismissed because of the manner in which the evidence was obtained, [47] but Charles's situation did not improve until a few years later. In , Charles was arrested for possession of marijuana and heroin.

Francis Hospital in Lynwood, California , he received five years' probation for his crime. Charles responded to the saga of his drug use and reform with the songs " I Don't Need No Doctor ", "Let's Go Get Stoned", and the release of Crying Time , his first album since having kicked his heroin addiction in Charles enjoyed playing chess, using a special board with raised squares and holes for the pieces.

In , Morehouse College honored Charles with the Candle Award for Lifetime Achievement in Arts and Entertainment, [54] and later that same year granted him an honorary doctor of humane letters. Charles possessed one of the most recognizable voices in American music. In the words of musicologist Henry Pleasants :.

Sinatra, and Bing Crosby before him, had been masters of words. Ray Charles is a master of sounds. His records disclose an extraordinary assortment of slurs, glides, turns, shrieks, wails, breaks, shouts, screams and hollers, all wonderfully controlled, disciplined by inspired musicianship, and harnessed to ingenious subtleties of harmony, dynamics and rhythm It is either the singing of a man whose vocabulary is inadequate to express what is in his heart and mind or of one whose feelings are too intense for satisfactory verbal or conventionally melodic articulation.

He can't tell it to you. He can't even sing it to you. He has to cry out to you, or shout to you, in tones eloquent of despair—or exaltation. The voice alone, with little assistance from the text or the notated music, conveys the message. Pleasants continues, "Ray Charles is usually described as a baritone, and his speaking voice would suggest as much, as would the difficulty he experiences in reaching and sustaining the baritone's high E and F in a popular ballad. But the voice undergoes some sort of transfiguration under stress, and in music of gospel or blues character he can and does sing for measures on end in the high tenor range of A, B flat, B, C and even C sharp and D, sometimes in full voice, sometimes in an ecstatic head voice, sometimes in falsetto.

In falsetto he continues up to E and F above high C. On one extraordinary record, 'I'm Going Down to the River' His style and success in the genres of rhythm and blues and jazz had an influence on a number of highly successful artists, including, as Jon Pareles has noted, Elvis Presley , Aretha Franklin , Stevie Wonder , Van Morrison , and Billy Joel. In the middle of the night with friends, we were listening to jazz.

Then I thought 'One day, if I make some people feel only one-twentieth of what I am feeling now, it will be quite enough for me. Ray , a biopic portraying his life and career between the mids and , was released in October , starring Jamie Foxx as Charles. Foxx won the Academy Award for Best Actor for the role. In , Charles was one of the first musicians born in the state to be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

In , he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In , he was given an honorable doctorate degree in fine arts by the University of South Florida. In , he was awarded the National Medal of Arts. In , Charles was awarded an honorary degree by Dillard University , and upon his death he endowed a professorship of African-American culinary history at the school, the first such chair in the nation. In , U. President Barack Obama said that "Ray Charles's version of ' America the Beautiful ' will always be in my view the most patriotic piece of music ever performed—because it captures the fullness of the American experience, the view from the bottom as well as the top, the good and the bad, and the possibility of synthesis, reconciliation, transcendence.

On March 15, , shortly after the release of the hit song "Georgia on My Mind" , the Albany, Georgia -born musician was scheduled to perform at a dance at Bell Auditorium in Augusta , but cancelled the show after learning from students of Paine College that the larger auditorium dance floor would be restricted to whites, while blacks would be obligated to sit in the Music Hall balcony.

The following year, Charles did perform at a desegregated Bell Auditorium concert together with his backup group the Raelettes on October 23, , [77] [78] [79] as depicted in the film, Ray.


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Founded in , the Ray Charles Foundation maintains the mission statement of financially supporting institutions and organizations in the research of hearing disorders. Recipients of donations include Benedict College , Morehouse College , and other universities.

The library was founded to "provide an avenue for young children to experience music and art in a way that will inspire their creativity and imagination", and is not open to the public without reservation, as the main goal is to educate mass groups of underprivileged youth and provide art and history to those without access to such documents.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the rhythm and blues singer. For other uses, see Ray Charles disambiguation. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Swing Time Concord Columbia Flashback. Main article: Ray Charles discography. Eagle; Eric S. Blues: A Regional Experience. However, most other reliable sources give his birth name as Ray Charles Robinson, and his birthplace as Albany, Georgia. It has been suggested that there has been a misinterpretation and that Horace Charles Robinson was in fact a half-brother.

Archived from the original on October 12, Retrieved Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 13, June 11, Retrieved September 25, Retrieved 15 December Simon and Schuster. Rolling Stone : 10— Retrieved November 9, Retrieved July 21, Brother Ray. New York: Da Capo Press. New York: Watson-Guptill. Rolling Stone , nos. Ray Charles: Man and Music. Retrieved 16 December Riverhead Books.

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Ray Charles - Wikipedia

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