The Info List - Ray Charles

Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Robinson[note 1] (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), known professionally as Ray Charles, was an American singer-songwriter, musician, and composer. Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray". He was often referred to as "The Genius".[2][3] Charles was blind from the age of seven. He pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records.[4][5][6] 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.[7][8][9] While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.[5] Charles cited Nat King Cole
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
Louis Jordan
and Charles Brown.[10] He became friends with Quincy Jones. Their friendship lasted until the end of Charles's life. Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
called Ray Charles
Ray Charles
"the only true genius in show business", although Charles downplayed this notion.[11] In 2002, Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
ranked Charles number ten on its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time",[2] and number two on their November 2008 list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time".[12] Billy Joel
Billy Joel
observed, "This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley".[13]


1 Early life and education 2 Career

2.1 1945–1952: Life in Florida, Los Angeles, Seattle and first hits 2.2 1952–1959: Atlantic Records 2.3 1959–1971: Crossover success 2.4 1971–1983: Commercial decline 2.5 1983–2004: Later years

3 Death 4 Personal life

4.1 Substance abuse and legal issues 4.2 Other interests

5 Legacy

5.1 Influence on music industry 5.2 Awards and honors 5.3 Contribution to civil rights movement 5.4 The Ray Charles
Ray Charles

6 Discography 7 Filmography 8 Television 9 Notes 10 References 11 Bibliography 12 External links

Early life and education[edit] Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Robinson was the son of Bailey Robinson, a laborer, and Aretha (or Reatha) Williams. At the time, his mother was a teenage orphan making a living as a sharecropper. They lived in Greenville, Florida with Robinson's father and his wife, Mary Jane Robinson. The Robinson family had informally adopted Aretha (or Reatha), and she took the surname Robinson. When she became pregnant by Bailey, incurring scandal, she left Greenville late in the summer of 1930 to be with family members in Albany, Georgia
Albany, Georgia
for the baby's birth, after which mother and child returned to Greenville. She and Mary Jane then shared in Ray's upbringing. He was deeply devoted to his mother and later recalled her perseverance, self-sufficiency, and pride as guiding lights in his life. His father abandoned the family, left Greenville, and married another woman elsewhere.[14] In his early years, Charles showed an interest in mechanical objects and would often watch his neighbors working on their cars and farm machinery. His musical curiosity was sparked at Wylie Pitman's Red Wing Cafe, at the age of three, when Pitman played boogie woogie on an old upright piano; Pitman subsequently taught Charles how to play the piano. Charles and his mother were always welcome at the Red Wing Cafe and even lived there when they were in financial distress.[10] Pitman would also care for Ray's younger brother George, to take some of the burden off their mother. George drowned in his mother's laundry tub when he was four years old.[10][15] Charles started to lose his sight at the age of four[3] or five,[16] and was completely blind by the age of seven, apparently as a result of glaucoma.[17] Destitute, uneducated, and still mourning the loss of her younger son, Aretha (or Reatha) Robinson used her connections in the local community to find a school that would accept a blind African-American pupil. Despite his initial protest, Charles attended school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine from 1937 to 1945.[18] Charles further developed his musical talent at school[17] and was taught to play the classical piano music of J.S. Bach, Mozart
and Beethoven. His teacher, Mrs. Lawrence, taught him how to use braille music which was a difficult process that requires learning the left hand movements by reading braille with the right hand and learning the right hand movements by reading braille with the left hand, and then combining the two parts. While Charles was happy to play classical music, he was more interested in the jazz, blues, and country music he heard on the radio.[18]:29–38 On Fridays, the South Campus Literary Society held assemblies at which Charles would play piano and sing popular songs. On both Halloween and George Washington's birthday, the black department of the school held socials at which Charles would play. It was here he established "RC Robinson and the Shop Boys" and sang his own arrangement of "Jingle Bell Boogie". During this time, he performed on WFOY radio in St. Augustine.[18] When Charles was 14 years old in the spring of 1945, his mother died. Her death came as a shock to him; he later said that the deaths of his brother and mother were "the two great tragedies" of his life. Charles returned to school after the funeral but was expelled in October for playing a prank on his teacher.[18] Career[edit]

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1945–1952: Life in Florida, Los Angeles, Seattle and first hits[edit] After leaving school, Charles moved to Jacksonville with a couple who had been friends with his late mother. He played the piano for bands at the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla for over a year, earning $4 a night (US$50 in 2017 dollars[19]). He joined the musicians' union in the hope that it would help him get work. He befriended many union members, but others were less kind to him because he would monopolize the union hall’s piano, since he did not have one at home. He started to build a reputation as a talented musician in Jacksonville, but the jobs did not come fast enough for him to construct a strong identity. He decided to leave Jacksonville and move to a bigger city with more opportunities.[20] At age 16, Charles moved to Orlando, where he lived in borderline poverty and went without food for days. It was difficult for musicians to find work, as since World War II
World War II
had ended there were no “G.I. Joes” left to entertain. Charles eventually started to write arrangements for a pop music band, and in the summer of 1947 he unsuccessfully auditioned to play piano for Lucky Millinder and his sixteen-piece band.[18] In 1947, Charles moved to Tampa, where he had two jobs: one as a pianist for Charles Brantley's Honeydippers,[21] a seven-piece band, and another as a member of a white country band called the Florida Playboys (though there is no historical trace of his involvement in the Florida Playboys besides his own testimony). This is when he began his habit of always wearing sunglasses, made by designer Billy Stickles.[citation needed] In his early career, he modeled himself on Nat "King" Cole. His first four recordings—"Wondering and Wondering", "Walking and Talking", "Why Did You Go?" and "I Found My Baby There"—were supposedly made in Tampa, although some discographies also claim he recorded them in Miami in 1951 or Los Angeles
Los Angeles
in 1952.[18] Charles had always played piano for other people, but he was keen to have his own band. He decided to leave Florida for a large city, and, considering Chicago and New York City too big, followed his friend Gossie McKee to Seattle, Washington, in March 1948, knowing that the biggest radio hits came from northern cities.[18][22] Here he met and befriended, under the tutelage of Robert Blackwell, a 15-year-old Quincy Jones.[23] He started playing the one-to-five A.M. shift at the Rocking Chair with his band McSon Trio, which featured McKee on guitar and Milton Garrett on bass. Publicity photos of the trio are some of the earliest known photographs of Charles. In April 1949, he and his band recorded "Confession Blues", which became his first national hit, soaring to the second spot on the Billboard R&B chart.[18] While still working at the Rocking Chair, he also arranged songs for other artists, including Cole Porter's "Ghost of a Chance" and Dizzy Gillespie's "Emanon".[20] After the success of his first two singles, Charles moved to Los Angeles
Los Angeles
in 1950, and spent the next few years touring with the blues musician Lowell Fulson
Lowell Fulson
as his musical director.[3] In 1950, his performance in a Miami hotel impressed Henry Stone, who went on to record a Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Rockin' record (which never became particularly popular). During his stay in Miami, Charles was required to stay in the segregated but thriving black community of Overtown. Stone later helped Jerry Wexler
Jerry Wexler
find Charles in St. Petersburg.[24] After joining Swing Time Records, he recorded two more R&B hits under the name Ray Charles: "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand" (1951), which reached number five, and "Kissa Me Baby"(1952), which reached number eight. Swing Time folded the following year, and Ahmet Ertegün signed him to Atlantic Records.[17] 1952–1959: Atlantic Records[edit]

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In June 1952, Atlantic Records
Atlantic Records
bought Charles's contract for $2,500 (US$23,039 in 2017 dollars[19])[25].[26] His first recording session for Atlantic ("The Midnight Hour"/"Roll with My Baby") took place in September 1952, although his last Swingtime release ("Misery in My Heart"/"The Snow Is Falling") would not appear until February 1953. In 1953, "Mess Around" became Charles's first small hit for Atlantic; the following year he had hits with "It Should've Been Me" and "Don't You Know".[26] He also recorded the songs "Midnight Hour" and "Sinner's Prayer". Late in 1954, Charles recorded "I've Got a Woman". The lyrics were written by Ray's bandleader, Renald Richard. Ray claimed the composition. They later openly admitted that the song went back to The Southern Tones' "It Must Be Jesus" (1954, Duke 205). It became one of his most notable hits, reaching number two on the R&B chart.[26] "I've Got a Woman" included a mixture of gospel, jazz and blues elements that would later prove to be seminal in the development of soul music. In 1955, he had hits with "This Little Girl of Mine" and "A Fool for You". In upcoming years, he scored with "Drown in My Own Tears" and "Hallelujah I Love Her So". In 1959, "What'd I Say" reached the #6 position on the Billboard Pop chart (and #1 on the Billboard R&B chart).[26] During his career, Charles also recorded instrumental jazz albums, such as The Great Ray Charles
The Great Ray Charles
(1957). During this time, he also worked with the jazz vibraphonist Milt Jackson, releasing Soul Brothers
Soul Brothers
in 1958 and Soul Meeting
Soul Meeting
in 1961. By 1958, Charles was not only headlining black venues such as the Apollo Theater, in New York, but also bigger venues, such as Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
and the Newport Jazz Festival (where his first live album was recorded in 1958). In 1956, Charles recruited a young all-female singing group, the Cookies, and reshaped them as the Raelettes.[citation needed] 1959–1971: Crossover success[edit] See also: What'd I Say
What'd I Say
and Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

Charles in 1971

Charles reached the pinnacle of his success at Atlantic with the release of "What'd I Say", a complex song that combined gospel, jazz, blues and Latin music, which Charles would later claim he had composed spontaneously as he was performing in clubs and dances with his small band. Despite some radio stations banning the song because of its sexually suggestive lyrics, the song became Charles's first crossover top-ten pop record.[27] Later in 1959, he released his first country song (a cover of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On") and also recorded three more albums for the label: a jazz record (released in 1961 as The Genius After Hours); a blues record (released in 1961 as The Genius Sings the Blues); and a traditional pop–big band record (The Genius of Ray Charles). The Genius of Ray Charles
Ray Charles
was his first top-40 album, peaking at number 17, and was later viewed as a landmark record in his career.[citation needed] Charles's Atlantic contract expired in the fall of 1959, with several big labels offered him record deals; choosing not to renegotiate his contract with Atlantic, he signed with ABC-Paramount Records in November 1959.[28] He obtained a more liberal contract than other artists had at the time, with ABC offering him a $50,000 (US$419,749 in 2017 dollars[19]) annual advance, higher royalties than before and eventual ownership of his master tapes—a very valuable and lucrative deal at the time.[29] During his Atlantic years, Charles had been heralded for his own inventive compositions, but by the time of the release of the instrumental jazz album Genius + Soul = Jazz
(1960) for ABC's subsidiary label Impulse!, he had virtually given up on writing original material, instead following his eclectic impulses as an interpreter.[27] With "Georgia on My Mind", his first hit single for ABC-Paramount in 1960, Charles received national acclaim and four Grammy Awards, including two for "Georgia on My Mind" (Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Single Artist). Written by the composers Stuart Gorrell and Hoagy Carmichael, the song was Charles's first work with Sid Feller, who produced, arranged and conducted the recording.[27][30] Charles earned another Grammy for the follow-up "Hit the Road Jack", written by the R&B singer and songwriter Percy Mayfield.[31] By late 1961, Charles had expanded his small road ensemble to a full-scale 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.[27][32] This success, however, came to a momentary halt during a concert tour in November 1961, when a police search of Charles's hotel room in Indianapolis, Indiana, led to the discovery of heroin in the medicine cabinet. The case was eventually dropped, as the search lacked a proper warrant by the police, and Charles soon returned to music.[32] In the early 1960s, whilst 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.[10] The 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
and its sequel, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 2, helped to bring country music into the musical mainstream. Charles's version of the Don Gibson song I Can't Stop Loving You
I Can't Stop Loving You
topped the Pop chart for five weeks, stayed at number 1 on the R&B chart for ten weeks, and gave him his only number-one record in the UK. In 1962, he founded his own record label, Tangerine Records, which ABC-Paramount promoted and distributed.[10]:248 [18]:213–16 He had major pop hits in 1963 with "Busted" (US number 4) and Take These Chains from My Heart (US number 8).[33] In 1965, 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. After spending a year on parole, Charles reappeared in the charts in 1966 with a series of hits composed with the fledgling team of Ashford & Simpson, including the dance number "I Don't Need No Doctor" and "Let's Go Get Stoned", which became his first number-one R&B hit in several years. His cover version of "Crying Time", originally recorded by the country artist Buck Owens, reached number 6 on the pop chart and helped Charles win a Grammy Award
Grammy Award
the following March. In 1967, he had a top-twenty hit with another ballad, "Here We Go Again".[34] 1971–1983: Commercial decline[edit]

Charles in 1968

Charles meeting with President Richard Nixon, 1972 (photo by Oliver F. Atkins)

Charles's renewed chart success, however, proved to be short lived, and by the 1970s his music was rarely played on radio stations. The rise of psychedelic rock and harder forms of rock and R&B music had reduced Charles' radio appeal, as did his choosing to record pop standards and covers of contemporary rock and soul hits, since his earnings from owning his masters had taken away the motivation to write new material. Charles nonetheless continued to have an active recording career. Most of his recordings between 1968 and 1973 evoked strong reactions: people either liked them a lot or strongly disliked them.[17] His 1972 album A Message from the People included his unique gospel-influenced version of "America the Beautiful" and a number of protest songs about poverty and civil rights. Charles was often criticized for his version of "America the Beautiful" because it was very drastically changed from the song's original version. In 1974, Charles left ABC Records
ABC Records
and recorded several albums on his own label, Crossover Records. A 1975 recording of Stevie Wonder's hit "Living for the City" later helped Charles win another Grammy. In 1977, he reunited with Ahmet Ertegün
Ahmet Ertegün
and re-signed to Atlantic Records, for which he recorded the album True to Life, remaining with his old label until 1980. 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 November 1977 he appeared as the host of the NBC television show Saturday Night Live.[35] In April 1979, 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.[17] Although he had notably supported the American Civil Rights Movement
American Civil Rights Movement
and Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s, Charles was criticized for performing at the Sun City resort in South Africa in 1981, during an international boycott protesting that country's apartheid policy.[17] 1983–2004: Later years[edit]

Charles at the North Sea Jazz
Festival, 1983

Charles with President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
and First Lady Nancy Reagan, 1984

Charles at the 2003 Montreal International Jazz
Festival, one of his last public performances

In 1983, Charles signed a contract with Columbia Records. He recorded a string of country albums and had hit singles in duets with singers such as George Jones, Chet Atkins, B. J. Thomas, Mickey Gilley, Hank Williams, Jr., Dee Dee Bridgewater
Dee Dee Bridgewater
("Precious Thing") and his longtime friend Willie Nelson, with whom he recorded the number 1 country duet "Seven Spanish Angels".[citation needed] 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", a duet with his lifelong friend Quincy Jones
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 with "Baby Grand", a duet with the singer Billy Joel. 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.[36] In the same year he was a special guest at the Arena di Verona
Arena di Verona
during the tour promoting Oro Incenso & Birra of the Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari. Charles's 1993 album, My World, became his first album in some time to reach the Billboard 200, whilst 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 in films and TV shows. In 1980, he appeared in The Blues
Brothers. His version of "Night Time Is the Right Time" was played during The Cosby Show
The Cosby Show
episode "Happy Anniversary", but he did not appear on the show. In 1985, he appeared among a group of other musicians in the USA for Africa charity recording "We Are the World". His popularity increased among younger audiences in 1991 after he appeared in a series of Diet Pepsi television commercials, which featured him singing the catchphrase "You Got the Right One, Baby". Two more slickly produced adult contemporary albums followed, Strong Love Affair
Strong Love Affair
(1996) and Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again (2002); both failed to chart and were soon forgotten. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he made appearances on the television show Super Dave Osbourne in a series of vignettes in which he was somehow driving a car, often as Super Dave's chauffeur. During the sixth season of Designing Women, Charles sang "Georgia on My Mind" in place of the instrumental cover version which had been used in the previous five seasons. He also appeared in four episodes of the popular TV comedy The Nanny, playing Sammy in seasons 4 and 5 in 1997–98.[citation needed] In 2001-02, Charles appeared in commercials for the New Jersey Lottery to promote its campaign "For every dream, there's a jackpot".[citation needed] During this same period, Charles toured in numerous countries around the world; he was extremely popular in Japan. When he appeared in London and Paris, he usually flew in the Concorde, while his band arrived separately in a 747.[citation needed] Charles performed at two US Presidential inaugurations: Ronald Reagan's second inauguration, in 1985, and Bill Clinton's first inauguration, in 1993.[37] 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
Arizona Diamondbacks
and New York Yankees, and performed "America the Beautiful". In the same year he collaborated once again with Zucchero Fornaciari
Zucchero Fornaciari
who sampled a piece of melody coming from What'd I Say
What'd I Say
in the album Shake. In 2003, he headlined the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., attended by President George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Colin Powell
Colin Powell
and Condoleezza Rice.[38] Also in 2003, Charles presented Van Morrison
Van Morrison
with Morrison's award upon being inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the two sang Morrison's song "Crazy Love" (the performance appears on Morrison's 2007 album The Best of Van Morrison
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 was on April 30, 2004, at the dedication of his music studio as a historic landmark in Los Angeles.[17] Death[edit] In 2003, 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
Beverly Hills, California
of complications resulting from acute liver disease,[3] on June 10, 2004, aged 73, surrounded by family and friends.[39][40] His funeral took place on June 18, 2004, at the First AME Church in Los Angeles
Los Angeles
with numerous musical figures in attendance.[41] B. B. King, Glen Campbell, Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
and Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
each played a tribute at the funeral.[42] He was interred in the Inglewood Park Cemetery.

Star honoring Charles on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6777 Hollywood Boulevard

His final album, Genius Loves Company, released two months after his death, consists of duets with various admirers and contemporaries: B. B. King, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Gladys Knight, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Norah Jones
Norah Jones
and Johnny Mathis. The album won eight Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals (for "Here We Go Again", with Norah Jones), and Best Gospel Performance (for "Heaven Help Us All", with Gladys Knight); he also received nods for his duets with Elton John and B. B. King. The album included a version of Harold Arlen's and E. Y. Harburg's "Over the Rainbow", sung as a duet with Johnny Mathis, which was played at Charles's memorial service.[42] Two more posthumous albums were released: Genius & Friends (2005), a selection of duets recorded from 1997 to 2004 with artists of Charles's choice, including "Big Bad Love" with Diana Ross, and Ray Sings, Basie Swings (2006), which combined live vocal performances by Charles from the mid-1970s recorded from the concert mixing board with new instrumental tracks specially recorded by the contemporary Count Basie Orchestra and other musicians to create a "fantasy concert" recording.[citation needed] Personal life[edit]

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Charles was married twice and had 12 children with ten different women. His first child, Evelyn, was born in 1949 to his companion, Louise Flowers. His first marriage was to Eileen Williams Robinson and lasted from July 31, 1951, until the following year, 1952. His second marriage, to Della Beatrice Howard Robinson (called "Bea" by Charles), began on April 5, 1955, and lasted 22 years. Their first child together, Ray Jr., was born in 1955. Charles was not in town for the birth, as he was playing a show in Texas. The couple had two more children, David (1958) and Robert (1960). Charles felt that his heroin addiction took a toll on Della during their marriage.[10] Charles had a six-year-long affair with Margie Hendricks, one of the original Raelettes, and in 1959 they had a son, Charles Wayne. His affair with Mae Mosley Lyles resulted in another daughter, Renee, born in 1961. In 1963, by Sandra Jean Betts, Ray Charles
Ray Charles
had a daughter, Sheila, a singer-songwriter, who died of breast cancer on June 15, 2017.[43][44] In 1966, his daughter Aretha was born to a woman who remains unidentified, and another daughter, Alexandra, was born to Chantal Bertrand. Charles divorced Della Howard in 1977. Later that year he had a son, Vincent, with Arlette Kotchounian. A daughter, Robyn, was born a year later to Gloria Moffett. His youngest child, a son, Ryan Corey den Bok, was born in 1987 to Mary Anne den Bok. One of Charles's long-term girlfriends at the time of his death was Norma Pinella.[citation needed] Substance abuse and legal issues[edit] 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 1950s, 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.[18] Charles was arrested again on a narcotics charge on November 14, 1961, 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 16. The case was dismissed because of the manner in which the evidence was obtained,[45] but Charles's situation did not improve until a few years later. Individuals such as Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
and Reverend Henry Griffin felt that those around Charles were responsible for his drug use. In 1964, Charles was arrested for possession of marijuana and heroin.[18] Following a self-imposed stay[45] at St. 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 1966.[46][47] Other interests[edit] Charles enjoyed playing chess, using a special board with raised squares and holes for the pieces.[48] In a 1991 concert, he referred to Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
as "my chess partner".[49] In 2002, he played and lost to the American grandmaster and former U.S. champion Larry Evans.[50] In 2001, Morehouse College
Morehouse College
honored Charles with the Candle Award for Lifetime Achievement in Arts and Entertainment,[51] and later that same year granted him an honorary doctor of humane letters.[52] Charles donated $2 million to Morehouse "to fund, educate and inspire the next generation of musical pioneers."[52] In 2010, a $20 million 76,000 sq ft (7,100 m2) facility, the Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building, opened at Morehouse.[53] Legacy[edit] Influence on music industry[edit]

Statue by Andy Davis in Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Plaza in Albany, Georgia

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.[54]

His style and success in the genres of rhythm and blues and jazz had an influence on a number of highly successful artists, including Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Billy Joel, and Steve Winwood.[citation needed] According to Joe Levy, a music editor for Rolling Stone, "The hit records he made for Atlantic in the mid-50's mapped out everything that would happen to rock 'n' roll and soul music in the years that followed".[55] Charles was also an inspiration to Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
member Roger Waters, who told the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet: "I was about 15. In the middle of the night with friends, we were listening to jazz. It was "Georgia on My Mind", Ray Charles's version. 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.'"[56] Ray, a biopic portraying his life and career between the mid-1930s and 1979, was released in October 2004, starring Jamie Foxx
Jamie Foxx
as Charles. Foxx won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
for the role. On December 7, 2007, the Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Plaza was opened in his hometown of Albany, Georgia, featuring a revolving, lighted bronze sculpture of Charles seated at a piano. The plaza's dedication was attended by his daughter Sheila Raye Charles.[citation needed] Awards and honors[edit] In 1979, Charles was one of the first musicians born in the state to be inducted into the Georgia State Music Hall of Fame.[57] His version of "Georgia on My Mind" was also made the official state song of Georgia.[58] In 1981 he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
and was one of the first inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural ceremony, in 1986.[59] He also received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986.[60] In 1987, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1991, he was inducted to the Rhythm & Blues
Foundation and was presented with the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement during the 1991 UCLA Spring Sing.[61] In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.[62] In 1998 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize, together with Ravi Shankar, in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2004 he was inducted to the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame.[63] The Grammy Awards
Grammy Awards
of 2005 were dedicated to Charles. In 2003, 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.[64] A $20 million performing arts center at Morehouse College was named after Charles and was dedicated in September 2010.[65] The United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service
issued a forever stamp honoring Charles, as part of its Musical Icons series, on September 23, 2013.[66] In 2016, U.S. 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."[67] Contribution to civil rights movement[edit] On March 15, 1961, shortly after the release of the hit song "Georgia on My Mind" (1960), then 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
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. Charles left town immediately after letting the public know why he wouldn't be performing, but the promoter went on to sue Charles for breach of contract, and Charles was fined $757 in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta on June 14, 1962. The following year, Charles did perform at a desegregated Bell Auditorium concert together with his backup group the Raelettes on October 23, 1963,[68][69][70] as depicted in the 2004 film, Ray.[71] On December 7, 2007, Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Plaza was opened in Albany, Georgia, with a revolving, lighted bronze sculpture of Charles seated at a piano.[61] The Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Foundation[edit] Founded in 1986, the Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Foundation maintains the mission statement of financially supporting institutions and organizations in the research of hearing disorders.[72] Originally known as "The Robinson Foundation for Hearing Disorders", it was renamed in 2006, and has since provided financial donations to numerous institutions involved in hearing loss research and education.[73] Specifically, the purpose of the Foundation has been "to administer funds for scientific, educational and charitable purposes; to encourage, promote and educate, through grants to institutions and organizations, as to the causes and cures for diseases and disabilities of the hearing impaired and to assist organizations and institutions in their social educational and academic advancement of programs for the youth, and carry on other charitable and educational activities associated with these goals as allowed by law".[74] The organization's philanthropic views stem from Charles' own views on giving, as the musician often contributed cochlear implant donations to those who could not afford the procedure. Charles was recorded as saying that the reason he has given so much more time and money to the hearing impaired, rather than the visually impaired, was that music saved his life, and he wouldn't know what to do if he couldn't experience it.[citation needed] Recipients of donations include Benedict College, Morehouse College and numerous other universities.[75] The foundation has taken action against donation recipients who do not use funds in accordance with its mission statement, such as the Albany State University, which was made to return a $3 million donation after not using the funds for over a decade.[76] The foundation currently houses its executive offices at the historic RPM International Building, originally the home of Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Enterprises, and now also home to the Ray Charles Memorial Library on the first floor, which was founded on September 23, 2010 (what would have been his 80th birthday). 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.[77] Discography[edit] Main article: Ray Charles
Ray Charles

"I Got a Woman" (1954) "What'd I Say" (1959) "Georgia on My Mind" (1960) "Hit the Road Jack" (1961) "One Mint Julep" (1961) "Unchain My Heart" (1961) "I Can't Stop Loving You" (1962)


Swingin' Along (1961), as himself Ballad in Blue (1965), as himself The Big T.N.T. Show (1966) (documentary) The Blues
Brothers (1980), as Ray Limit Up (1989), as Julius Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
(1990) (documentary) Love Affair (1994), as himself Spy Hard
Spy Hard
(1996), as bus driver The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave (2000), as himself Blue's Big Musical Movie
Blue's Big Musical Movie
(2000), as the voice of G-Clef (his final film role)


Who's the Boss, episode "Hit the Road, Chad" (February 3, 1987), as himself St. Elsewhere, episode "Jose, Can You See?" (February 4, 1987), as Arthur Tibbits Moonlighting, episode "A Trip to the Moon" (1987), as himself Wings, episode "A Decent Proposal" (May 12, 1994), as himself The Nanny
The Nanny
(1999), as Sammy Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
host, season 3, episode 5 (November 12, 1977)


^ a b According to Bob L. Eagle; Eric S. LeBlanc. Blues: A Regional Experience. p. 361. , based on the authors' interpretation of 1935 Florida census information, he was born Horace Charles Robinson in Greenville, Florida. However, most other reliable sources give his birth name as Ray Charles
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.


^ "Biography". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved 2013-09-22. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) ^ a b Morrison, Van. "100 Greatest Artists of All Time. No. 10: Ray Charles". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 13, 2010.  ^ a b c d "Ray Charles, American Legend, Dies at 73". NPR.org. June 11, 2004. Retrieved September 25, 2014.  ^ Unterberger, Richie. Biography: Ray Charles. AllMusic; retrieved November 26, 2009. ^ a b VH1
(2003), p. 210. ^ "Show 15 – The Soul Reformation: More on the evolution of rhythm and blues". library.unt.edu. University of North Texas. May 11, 1969. Retrieved September 10, 2010.  ^ Guide Profile: Ray Charles, About.com; retrieved December 12, 2008. ^ Palmer, Robert (February 9, 1978). "Soul Survivor Ray Charles". Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
(258): 10–14. Retrieved November 9, 2008.  ^ Tyrangiel, Josh (2006). "Review: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music". Time. Retrieved July 21, 2009.  ^ a b c d e f Charles, Ray; Ritz, David (1992). Brother Ray. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-80482-4.  ^ Bronson, Fred (1997). The Billboard Book
of Number One Hits (4th ed.). New York: Watson-Guptill. p. 98. ISBN 0-8230-7641-5.  ^ Joel, Billy. "100 Greatest Singers of All Time. No. 2: Ray Charles". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 13, 2010.  ^ "A Tribute to Ray Charles". Rolling Stone, nos. 952–953, July 8–22, 2004. ^ Lydon, Michael (2004). Ray Charles: Man and Music. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-97043-1.  ^ " Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Biography". SwingMusic.net. Retrieved February 14, 2008.  ^ Leung, Rebecca (October 14, 2004). "The Genius of Ray Charles: 60 Minutes Looks Back at the Life and Loves of a True Original" (about a 1986 segment on Charles from 60 Minutes). ^ a b c d e f g Graham, Eamon (2004). "Obituary: Ray Charles (1930–2004)". Bohème Magazine.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lydon, Michael (1998). Ray Charles: Man and Music. Riverhead Books. ISBN 1-57322-132-5.  ^ a b c Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2018.  ^ a b Winski, Norman (1994). Ray Charles: Singer and Musician. Los Angeles: Melrose Square Publishing. pp. 102–107. ISBN 0-87067-790-X.  ^ "Charlie Brantley and His Original Honey Dippers". Tampabaymusichistory.com. Retrieved 2017-01-16.  ^ "Charles, Ray (1930–2004)". HistoryLink.org.  ^ " Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Biography". Achievement.org. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2014.  ^ Katel, Jacob (November 22, 2012). "Henry Stone: Legendary Soul". Miami New Times. Retrieved February 14, 2013.  ^ Fricke, David (April 26, 2001). "The Story of Atlantic Records: Ahmet Ertegun in His Own Words". Rolling Stone.  ^ a b c d Szatmary, David P. (2014). Rockin' in Time. Pearson. p. 177.  ^ a b c d "Ray Charles, Bluesy Essence of Soul". New York Times; retrieved December 12, 2008. ^ Ray Charles, “I Can't Stop Loving You”. Kalamu.com. Retrieved August 13, 2008. ^ "RS Biography: Ray Charles
Ray Charles
1930-2004". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 14, 2008.  ^ The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: 44) "Georgia on My Mind". Rolling Stone.com; retrieved August 14, 2008. ^ "'Hit the Road Jack' by Ray Charles". Songfacts.com. Retrieved August 14, 2008.  ^ a b Cooper (1998), pp. 20–22. ^ " Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved March 16, 2018.  ^ " Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Profile". PianoFiles.com. Retrieved April 11, 2015.  ^ "Ray Charles". SnlTranscripts.jt.org. November 12, 1977. Retrieved September 10, 2010.  ^ "List of Best-Selling International Singles in Japan of 1989". Oricon. Wbs.ne.jp. Archived from the original on 2007-01-03. Retrieved March 1, 2018.  ^ "Ray Charles". Internet Movie Database. IMDB.com. Retrieved September 10, 2010.  ^ "2003 White House Correspondents' Dinner Entertainment". C-span.org. Retrieved March 4, 2017.  ^ D'Angelo, Joe. " Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Dead at 73". mtv.com. Retrieved January 1, 2012.  ^ Evans, Mike. Ray Charles: The Birth of Soul. Retrieved January 1, 2012.  ^ " Little Richard
Little Richard
Has Heart Attack". Stcatharinesstandard.ca. Retrieved April 25, 2014.  ^ a b "Many Pay Respects to Ray Charles". CBS News. June 10, 2004. Retrieved November 25, 2006.  ^ "The daughter of Music Icon Ray Charles; Sheila Raye Charles succumbs to breast cancer". Einpresswire.com. 2017-06-15. Retrieved 2017-06-25.  ^ Interview with Sheila Ray Charles
Ray Charles
- RadioLIVE New Zealand, May 2010. ^ a b "Show 16 – The Soul Reformation: More on the Evolution of R&B". unt.edu. University of North Texas. Retrieved September 18, 2010.  ^ "Ray Charles: Lessons From His Life & Death". BlackDoctor.org. Retrieved March 16, 2017.  ^ "About Ray Charles". PBS.org. May 17, 2006. Retrieved March 16, 2017.  ^ "The chess games of Ray Charles". Chessgames.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2014.  ^ Charles, Ray (2005). Genius & Friends (CD). Burbank, California: Atlantic Records. Event occurs at Track 13 2:22.  ^ "Chess News – GM Larry Melvyn Evans (1932–2010)". ChessBase.com. Retrieved December 30, 2011.  ^ " Morehouse College
Morehouse College
Bennie and Candle Recipients 1989–2013". Morehouse College. Morehouse.edu. 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2017. [permanent dead link] ^ a b " Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Performing Arts Center". The Ray Charles Foundation. Raycharles.com. 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2017.  ^ Seymour, Add Jr. (September 29, 2010). "Morehouse Cuts the Ribbon on the Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building". Morehouse.edu. Morehouse College. Retrieved March 16, 2017.  ^ Pleasants, Henry (1974). The Great American Popular Singers. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780671216818.  ^ Pareles, Jon (June 10, 2004). "Ray Charles, Who Shaped American Music, Dies at 73". The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2014.  ^ Oskay, Cinar. "Roger Waters, Cinar Oskay roportaji: 'Muziginizin hatirlanmasi sizin icin onemli mi?'" (in Turkish). Hurriyet. Retrieved August 4, 2013.  ^ "List of Inductees". Georgia Music Hall of Fame. 1979–2007. Archived from the original on October 15, 2006. Retrieved November 25, 2006.  ^ "State Song". Georgia Secretary of State. 1979.  ^ "Inductees". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
& Museum. Archived from the original on November 23, 2006. Retrieved November 25, 2006.  ^ "List of Kennedy Center Honorees". Kennedy Center. 1986. Retrieved November 25, 2006.  ^ a b "Calendar & Events: Spring Sing: Gershwin Award". UCLA. Retrieved April 11, 2015.  ^ "Lifetime Honors—National Medal of Arts". Nea.gov. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2010.  ^ "Hall of Fame". National Black Sports & Entertainment. 2004. Archived from the original on March 9, 2007. Retrieved November 25, 2006.  ^ Read, Mimi (February 23, 2005). "A Gift to Black Cuisine, from Ray Charles". New York Times. Retrieved October 11, 2010.  ^ "Morehouse Cuts the Ribbon on the Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Performing Arts Center and Music Academic Building". Morehouse College. Morehouse.edu. Archived from the original on October 17, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2010.  ^ Ray Charles
Ray Charles
US Stamp Gallery ^ Quoted in David Remnick (2016), "Soul Survivor: The Revival and Hidden Treasure of Aretha Franklin". The New Yorker. April 4, 2016. Retrieved on April 4, 2016. ^ "William B. Bell Auditorium". augustaciviccenter.com. Retrieved June 8, 2012.  ^ Rhodes, Don (July 1, 2004). " Ray Charles
Ray Charles
gave country music his own touch". The Augusta Chronicle.  ^ Robert Fontenot; About.com Guide. "How did racism affect Ray Charles?". about.com. Retrieved June 9, 2012.  ^ "32 Years Ago This Month: Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Serenades the Legislature". AtlantaMagazine.com. Archived from the original on March 11, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2013.  ^ "Mission Statement". Theraycharlesfoundation.org. Retrieved December 21, 2014.  ^ " Benedict College
Benedict College
receives $500,000 gift?". Benedict.edu. Retrieved December 21, 2014.  ^ "About the Foundation". Theraycharlesfoundation.org. Retrieved December 21, 2014.  ^ "Morehouse Gets $3 Million Gift from Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Foundation". Ajc.com. Retrieved December 21, 2014.  ^ " Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Foundation Wants $3 Million Gift Back". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 21, 2014.  ^ "About the Library". Theraycharlesfoundation.org. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 


Charles, Ray and Ritz, David (2004). Brother Ray: Ray Charles' Own Story (Third Da Capo Press ed.). Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81431-5. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) VH1
(see list of contributors) (2003). 100 Greatest Albums. edited by Jacob Hoye. Simon & Schuster, USA. p. 210. ISBN 0-7434-4876-6.  Lydon, Michael (1998). Ray Charles: Man and Music. Riverhead Books. ISBN 1-57322-132-5. 

External links[edit]

Book: Ray Charles

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ray Charles

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ray Charles.

Official website Ray Charles
Ray Charles
at Encyclopædia Britannica Ray Charles
Ray Charles
at Find a Grave Article from the St. Augustine Record noting Charles' being on WFOY Ray Charles
Ray Charles
– Daily Telegraph obituary Ray Charles discography
Ray Charles discography
at MusicBrainz Ray Charles
Ray Charles
at Rolling Stone Ray Charles
Ray Charles
at Songwriters Hall of Fame "Ray Charles". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Ray Charles
Ray Charles
on IMDb Ray Charles
Ray Charles
at AllMusic Ray Charles discography
Ray Charles discography
at Discogs Ray Charles
Ray Charles
autobiography: The Early Years 1930–1960 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 12, 2007) I Can't Stop Loving You: Ray Charles
Ray Charles
and Country Music – Past Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Ray Charles's oral history video excerpts at the National Visionary Leadership Project Ray Charles
Ray Charles
interviewed on the Pop Chronicles
Pop Chronicles
(1969) Appearances on C-SPAN

v t e

Ray Charles

Studio albums


Ray Charles
Ray Charles
(Hallelujah, I Love Her So) The Great Ray Charles Yes Indeed! Soul Brothers What'd I Say The Genius of Ray Charles The Genius Sings the Blues Soul Meeting The Genius After Hours True to Life Love & Peace Ain't It So Brother Ray Is at It Again


The Genius Hits the Road Dedicated to You Ray Charles
Ray Charles
and Betty Carter Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 2 Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul Sweet & Sour Tears Have a Smile with Me Together Again / Country and Western Meets Rhythm and Blues Crying Time Ray's Moods Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Invites You to Listen A Portrait of Ray I'm All Yours Baby! Doing His Thing My Kind of Jazz Love Country Style Volcanic Action of My Soul Jazz
Number II A Message From The People Through The Eyes Of Love


Renaissance My Kind of Jazz
Part 3


Wish You Were Here Tonight Do I Ever Cross Your Mind Friendship The Spirit of Christmas From the Pages of My Mind Just Between Us

Warner Bros.

Would You Believe My World Strong Love Affair

Other labels

Genius+Soul = Jazz Porgy and Bess Thanks for Bringing Love Around Again Genius Loves Company

Posthumous studio creations

Genius & Friends Ray Sings, Basie Swings Rare Genius

Live albums

Ray Charles
Ray Charles
at Newport Ray Charles
Ray Charles
in Person Live in Concert Ray Charles
Ray Charles

Notable compilations

Do the Twist! with Ray Charles Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Greatest Hits A Man and His Soul The Best of Ray Charles Anthology The Birth of Soul Genius and Soul Ray Charles
Ray Charles
in Concert

Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 Singles

" What'd I Say
What'd I Say
" " Georgia on My Mind
Georgia on My Mind
" "Hit the Road Jack" "One Mint Julep" "Unchain My Heart" " I Can't Stop Loving You
I Can't Stop Loving You
" "You Don't Know Me" "You Are My Sunshine" "Busted" "Take These Chains from My Heart" "Crying Time"

Other Billboard Charts #1 singles

"I Got a Woman" "A Fool for You" "Mary Ann" "Drown in My Own Tears" "Together Again" "Let's Go Get Stoned" "Seven Spanish Angels" "I'll Be Good to You"

Grammy Awarded Works (not included above)

"Let The Good Times Roll" "Living for the City" "A Song for You" "Heaven Help Us All " "Here We Go Again"

See also

Discography David "Fathead" Newman Fathead / Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Sextet Hank Crawford The Raelettes Ray (soundtrack) Quincy Jones The Blues
Brothers Here We Go Again: Celebrating the Genius of Ray Charles Tribute to Uncle Ray "Confession Blues" Diet Pepsi

Book Category Commons Wikiquote

v t e

Laureates of the Polar Music Prize


Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
/ the Baltic states
Baltic states
(1992) Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie
/ Witold Lutosławski
Witold Lutosławski
(1993) Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
/ Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Nikolaus Harnoncourt
(1994) Elton John
Elton John
/ Mstislav Rostropovich
Mstislav Rostropovich
(1995) Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell
/ Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez
(1996) Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
/ Eric Ericson
Eric Ericson
(1997) Ray Charles
Ray Charles
/ Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar
(1998) Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
/ Iannis Xenakis
Iannis Xenakis


Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
/ Isaac Stern
Isaac Stern
(2000) Burt Bacharach
Burt Bacharach
/ Robert Moog
Robert Moog
/ Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen
(2001) Miriam Makeba
Miriam Makeba
/ Sofia Gubaidulina
Sofia Gubaidulina
(2002) Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
(2003) B.B. King
B.B. King
/ György Ligeti
György Ligeti
(2004) Gilberto Gil
Gilberto Gil
/ Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
(2005) Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
/ Valery Gergiev
Valery Gergiev
(2006) Sonny Rollins
Sonny Rollins
/ Steve Reich
Steve Reich
(2007) Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
/ Renée Fleming
Renée Fleming
(2008) Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel
/ José Antonio Abreu
José Antonio Abreu
/ El Sistema (2009)


/ Ennio Morricone
Ennio Morricone
(2010) Kronos Quartet
Kronos Quartet
/ Patti Smith
Patti Smith
(2011) Paul Simon
Paul Simon
/ Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma
(2012) Youssou N'Dour
Youssou N'Dour
/ Kaija Saariaho
Kaija Saariaho
(2013) Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry
/ Peter Sellars
Peter Sellars
(2014) Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris
/ Evelyn Glennie
Evelyn Glennie
(2015) Max Martin
Max Martin
/ Cecilia Bartoli
Cecilia Bartoli
(2016) Sting / Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
(2017) Metallica
/ Afghanistan National Institute of Music (2018)

v t e

Kennedy Center Honorees (1980s)


Leonard Bernstein James Cagney Agnes de Mille Lynn Fontanne Leontyne Price


Count Basie Cary Grant Helen Hayes Jerome Robbins Rudolf Serkin


George Abbott Lillian Gish Benny Goodman Gene Kelly Eugene Ormandy


Katherine Dunham Elia Kazan Frank Sinatra James Stewart Virgil Thomson


Lena Horne Danny Kaye Gian Carlo Menotti Arthur Miller Isaac Stern


Merce Cunningham Irene Dunne Bob Hope Alan Jay Lerner
Alan Jay Lerner
& Frederick Loewe Beverly Sills


Lucille Ball Hume Cronyn
Hume Cronyn
& Jessica Tandy Yehudi Menuhin Antony Tudor Ray Charles


Perry Como Bette Davis Sammy Davis Jr. Nathan Milstein Alwin Nikolais


Alvin Ailey George Burns Myrna Loy Alexander Schneider Roger L. Stevens


Harry Belafonte Claudette Colbert Alexandra Danilova Mary Martin William Schuman

Complete list 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s

v t e

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Class of 1986


Chuck Berry James Brown Ray Charles Sam Cooke Fats Domino The Everly Brothers
The Everly Brothers
(Don Everly, Phil Everly) Buddy Holly Jerry Lee Lewis Little Richard Elvis Presley

Early influences

Jimmie Rodgers Jimmy Yancey Robert Johnson

Non-performers (Ahmet Ertegun Award)

Alan Freed Sam Phillips

Lifetime achievement

John Hammond

v t e

Grammy Award
Grammy Award
for Record of the Year


"Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)" by Domenico Modugno
Domenico Modugno
(1959) "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin
Bobby Darin
(1960) "Theme from A Summer Place" by Percy Faith
Percy Faith
(1961) "Moon River" by Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini
(1962) "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" by Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
(1963) "Days of Wine and Roses" by Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini
(1964) "The Girl from Ipanema" by Astrud Gilberto
Astrud Gilberto
& Stan Getz
Stan Getz
(1965) "A Taste of Honey" by Herb Alpert
Herb Alpert
and the Tijuana Brass (1966) "Strangers in the Night" by Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
(1967) "Up, Up and Away" by The 5th Dimension
The 5th Dimension
(Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, Lamont McLemore, Ron Townson) (1968) "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon & Garfunkel (Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon) (1969) "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" by The 5th Dimension
The 5th Dimension
(Billy Davis, Jr., Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo, Lamont McLemore, Ron Townson) (1970) "Bridge over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel (Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon) (1971) "It's Too Late" by Carole King
Carole King
(1972) "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Roberta Flack
Roberta Flack
(1973) "Killing Me Softly with His Song" by Roberta Flack
Roberta Flack
(1974) "I Honestly Love You" by Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John
(1975) "Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain & Tennille (Daryl Dragon, Toni Tennille) (1976) "This Masquerade" by George Benson
George Benson
(1977) "Hotel California" by Eagles (Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh) (1978) "Just the Way You Are" by Billy Joel
Billy Joel
(1979) "What a Fool Believes" by The Doobie Brothers
The Doobie Brothers
(Jeffrey Baxter, John Hartman, Keith Knudsen, Michael McDonald, Tiran Porter, Patrick Simmons) (1980)


"Sailing" by Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
(1981) " Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Eyes" by Kim Carnes
Kim Carnes
(1982) "Rosanna" by Toto (Bobby Kimball, Steve Lukather, David Paich, Jeff Porcaro, David Hungate, Steve Porcaro) (1983) "Beat It" by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
(1984) "What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner
Tina Turner
(1985) "We Are the World" by USA for Africa
USA for Africa
(1986) "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood
Steve Winwood
(1987) "Graceland" by Paul Simon
Paul Simon
(1988) "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin
Bobby McFerrin
(1989) "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler
Bette Midler
(1990) "Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins
Phil Collins
(1991) "Unforgettable" by Natalie Cole
Natalie Cole
with Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole
(1992) "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
(1993) "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
(1994) "All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow
(1995) "Kiss from a Rose" by Seal (1996) "Change the World" by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
(1997) "Sunny Came Home" by Shawn Colvin
Shawn Colvin
(1998) "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion
Celine Dion
(1999) "Smooth" by Santana (Rodney Holmes, Tony Lindsay, Karl Perazzo, Raul Rekow, Benny Rietveld, Carlos Santana, Chester Thompson) featuring Rob Thomas (2000)


"Beautiful Day" by U2 (Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr.) (2001) "Walk On" by U2 (Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr.) (2002) "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones
Norah Jones
(2003) "Clocks" by Coldplay
(Guy Berryman, Jon Buckland, Will Champion, Phil Harvey, Chris Martin) (2004) "Here We Go Again" by Ray Charles
Ray Charles
and Norah Jones
Norah Jones
(2005) "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day
Green Day
(Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, Frank Edwin Wright III) (2006) "Not Ready to Make Nice" by Dixie Chicks
Dixie Chicks
(Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison) (2007) "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse
(2008) "Please Read the Letter" by Alison Krauss
Alison Krauss
and Robert Plant
Robert Plant
(2009) "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon
Kings of Leon
(Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill, Nathan Followill) (2010) "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum
Lady Antebellum
(Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood) (2011) "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele
(2012) "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye
featuring Kimbra
(2013) "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk
Daft Punk
featuring Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams
& Nile Rodgers (2014) "Stay with Me" (Darkchild version) by Sam Smith (2015) "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson
Mark Ronson
featuring Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars
(2016) "Hello" by Adele
(2017) "24K Magic" by Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars

v t e

Grammy Award
Grammy Award
for Album of the Year


The Music from Peter Gunn
The Music from Peter Gunn
Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini
(1959) Come Dance with Me! – Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
(1960) The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
Bob Newhart
Bob Newhart
(1961) Judy at Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall
Judy Garland
Judy Garland
(1962) The First Family – Vaughn Meader
Vaughn Meader
(1963) The Barbra Streisand Album
The Barbra Streisand Album
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
(1964) Getz/Gilberto
– Stan Getz, João Gilberto
João Gilberto
(1965) September of My Years Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
(1966) A Man and His Music Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
(1967) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles
The Beatles
(1968) By the Time I Get to Phoenix – Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell
(1969) Blood, Sweat & Tears – Blood, Sweat & Tears (1970) Bridge over Troubled Water
Bridge over Troubled Water
– Simon & Garfunkel (1971) Tapestry – Carole King
Carole King
(1972) The Concert for Bangladesh – Various (1973) Innervisions
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
(1974) Fulfillingness' First Finale
Fulfillingness' First Finale
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
(1975) Still Crazy After All These Years
Still Crazy After All These Years
Paul Simon
Paul Simon
(1976) Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life
Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder
(1977) Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac
(1978) Saturday Night Fever – Bee Gees/Various (1979)


52nd Street – Billy Joel
Billy Joel
(1980) Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
(1981) Double Fantasy
Double Fantasy
John Lennon
John Lennon
and Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
(1982) Toto IV
Toto IV
– Toto (1983) Thriller – Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson
(1984) Can't Slow Down – Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie
(1985) No Jacket Required
No Jacket Required
Phil Collins
Phil Collins
(1986) Graceland – Paul Simon
Paul Simon
(1987) The Joshua Tree
The Joshua Tree
– U2 (1988) Faith – George Michael
George Michael
(1989) Nick of Time – Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Raitt
(1990) Back on the Block
Back on the Block
Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
and various artists (1991) Unforgettable... with Love Natalie Cole
Natalie Cole
(1992) Unplugged – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
(1993) The Bodyguard – Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston
(1994) MTV Unplugged – Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
(1995) Jagged Little Pill
Jagged Little Pill
Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette
(1996) Falling into You
Falling into You
Celine Dion
Celine Dion
(1997) Time Out of Mind – Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
(1998) The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill
(1999) Supernatural – Santana (2000)


Two Against Nature
Two Against Nature
Steely Dan
Steely Dan
(2001) O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack (2002) Come Away with Me
Come Away with Me
Norah Jones
Norah Jones
(2003) Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
(2004) Genius Loves Company
Genius Loves Company
Ray Charles
Ray Charles
and various artists (2005) How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
– U2 (2006) Taking the Long Way
Taking the Long Way
Dixie Chicks
Dixie Chicks
(2007) River: The Joni Letters – Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
(2008) Raising Sand
Raising Sand
Robert Plant
Robert Plant
& Alison Krauss
Alison Krauss
(2009) Fearless – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
(2010) The Suburbs
The Suburbs
Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire
(2011) 21 – Adele
(2012) Babel – Mumford & Sons (2013) Random Access Memories
Random Access Memories
Daft Punk
Daft Punk
(2014) Morning Phase
Morning Phase
(2015) 1989 – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
(2016) 25 – Adele
(2017) 24K Magic – Bruno Mars
Bruno Mars

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 103647937 LCCN: n50055897 ISNI: 0000 0001 1431 8819 GND: 118675605 SELIBR: 270597 SUDOC: 029953456 BNF: cb135222524 (data) MusicBrainz: 2ce02909-598b-44ef-a456-151ba0a3bd70 NLA: 35817042 NDL: 01008014 NKC: jo2002105756 ICCU: ITICCURAVV232240 BNE: XX852324 SN