Ray Charles: Pianist, Songwriter, Singer

September 23, 1930 in the small town of Albany, Georgia, the Robinsons family was born a boy Ray Charles Robinson. When he was several months old, they moved to Florida, the town of Gainesville, where his younger brother was born. When the father left the family, the mother began to educate the brothers alone.


In 3 years the young musician sang songs, imitating the musician from the cafe, who taught him playing the piano.

When Ray was 5, his brother drowned before his eyes, and a year later Charles himself became blind. Doctors put glaucoma in the 1930s, it was incurable. Mother taught him to do without the help of others. Ray Charles said that he does not remember how to see it, only his mother’s image and color remained in his memory.

When Ray was 7 years old, in 1937, he entered the school for blind children, where he was taught to read words and notes on the Braille system. Having finished it in 1945, Ray Charles played the clarinet, trombone, organ, piano and saxophone.

These were the musician’s first steps towards creating his own music. So not having finished school, after the death of his mother, Ray traveled around Florida in search of work. By the age of 16, he had become a professional tune, performing with groups of musicians all over Florida.

Youth years

In 1948, Ray moved to Seattle, where he played in cafes and clubs. Immediately he founded his first project in the style of jazz-blues The Maxim Trio. He first tried drugs. He himself said that it refers to the type of people who realize that this passion will lead to death, but still want to learn, using even more.

The music was in his blood. He lived it and recorded from the age of 17. Let his first records not become popular, Ray created something new, combined several directions in music.

After ten years, the songs of genius became popular. In 1951, they became interested in record companies, and he released his first hit, Mess Around. Ray Charles invented a new direction of soul.

He quickly gained popularity, but some of his songs were forbidden to listen, arguing that they have sexual overtones. This did not stop his popularity, although he himself went into depression and began to use heavy drugs.

Peak of popularity

In 1961, Ray canceled a concert in his native state of Georgia because of racism. He spoke there years later, when the law compared the rights of blacks to white people. The peak of Ray Charles’s popularity came in the 1960s. It was the dawn of a genius.

He dedicated the song to Busted Kennedy after his death. Changed rock and soul, carried away with jazz and pop music. It was a hard period of rehabilitation from drug addiction and scandals.

Almost until his death, he wrote music and sang. His concerts were in demand, and the songs are always in the first charts. He gave concerts in many countries, including Japan and Germany.

The cultural heritage of Ray Charles

Many musicians, actors and politicians deservedly call him king of soul and jazz. He released a lot of records, some of them came out after his death. During a 50-year career, Ray Charles received the Grammy, he is the only one who has been honored with such honor for half a century.

Ray was a playful and cheerful person who knew how to live. During his life he was twice married and had 12 children from nine different women. The most popular rock stars are called his inspiration. Carlos Santana, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton and others performed songs in his honor.

Frank Sinatra called him an exceptional genius in music. Ray Charles Robinson said that he will not live forever, but his music is in our hearts.

On June 10, 2004, he died in his home. A few months later came the film “Ray” about his life.

Picture Credit: wikipedia