Ray Charles (born Ray Charles Robinson, 23.9.1930 - 10.6.2004)
Ray Charles was an American singer, composer and pianist. N
Net worth: Ray Charles had an estimated $100 million net worth before his death. (Celebrity Net Worth)
Childhood: Ray Charles Robinson was born in Albany, Georgia on 23rd September 1930. Ray's father, Bailey Robinson, was a railroad repair man, and his mother, Aretha Williams, was a sawmill worker. It was the Great Depression and times were hard for a black family living in the South. The family moved to Greenville in Florida, but Bailey was rarely present, leaving Aretha to bring up the family alone. A series of tragedies followed. At the age of five, Ray witnessed his younger brother, George, drown in a laundry tub. Ray also began to lose his sight, possibly due to glaucoma, and was completely blind by the age of seven. Supported by his mother, Ray learned to cope with his sight loss and to be independent. Ray left home and became a student at the school for the deaf and blind in St. Augustine, Florida. When Ray was fifteen his mother died, followed two years later by his father. At school Ray received a formal musical education and learned to read, write and arrange music in Braille; score for big bands; and play piano, organ, sax, clarinet, and trumpet. His influences ranged from the jazz and big band sounds of Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington and Louis Jordan, to blues, classical, hillbilly, and gospel music. While playing in one of his first bands, The Florida Playboys, Ray began wearing his trademark sunglasses.
Musical Career: On leaving school Ray toured the South, playing black dance halls with bands, before moving to Seattle, Washington in 1947. Ray's early musical career was fashioned after Nat King Cole, evident in some of his first recordings such as Walkin' and Talkin' and All to Myself Alone. In 1949 Ray had his first hit with Confession Blues, released on Swingtime Records. After signing to Atlantic in 1952, Charles celebrated his first number one in the R&B singles chart, I Got a Woman, which catapulted him to fame in America. The single featured on Ray Charles' self-titled debut album, released in 1957. By this time Charles' singing style was unique, containing elements of gospel, a style which would later feed into soul. More R&B hits followed and Ray recruited a girl group from Philadelphia to be his backing band. They changed their name to the Raelettes and began recording with Charles in New York. During this time, Charles also became popular with jazz fans, playing at the Newport Jazz festival and recording two highly acclaimed records. Ray Charles released his breakthrough single, What'd I Say, in July 1959. The song crossed over to Top 40 radio and reached number six in the US pop chart. By the late 1950s Ray Charles was referred to as The Genius, with his final album for Atlantic aptly titled Genius Sings the Blues. Ray signed to ABC Paramount in 1959 and released a string of hit singles including Hit the Road Jack, Unchain My Heart, and Georgia On My Mind which earned Charles two Grammy Awards in 1960, and was declared official song of the state of Georgia in 1979. In 1962 Charles formed Ray Charles Enterprises and opened studios and offices in Los Angeles. Always broadening his musical oeuvre, and now using orchestras and choruses for his recordings, Ray Charles' landmark 1962 album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music stayed at number one on the Billboard Pop Album chart for over three months, ushering country music into the mainstream. Volume Two was swiftly released, spawning the hits You Are My Sunshine and Your Cheating Heart. Charles also enjoyed major pop hits on ABC with Crying Time and Together Again. Charles began appearing in films and recorded soundtracks for The Cincinnati Kid (1965) and In the Heat of the Night (1967). During his time on parole after kicking his drug habit, Charles kept a reduced profile and his musical output was patchy but by 1969 he was back touring the nightclub circuit. Charles left ABC Records and released My Kind Of Jazz (1970) on his Tangerine label, with long-time friend Quincy Jones. It contained Charles' last pop chart hit, Booty Butt. The 1970s saw Charles collaborate with Randy Newman and Stevie Wonder, as well as English vocalist Cleo Laine with whom he recorded Porgy & Bess in 1976. Charles returned to Atlantic Records and released four albums between 1977 and 1980. In the 1980s Charles shifted to Columbia Records and back to country music, working with George Jones and Willie Nelson. Charles made a cameo appearance in The Blues Brothers and also appeared at two Presidential inaugurations. Ray's renewed fame led to guest vocals on tracks such as I'll Be Good to You (1990), with Chaka Khan, and he released eleven albums between 1983 and 1996. Up until his death, Ray continued to make concert and television appearances, like the peace concert in Rome's Colosseum in 2002. Prior to his death, Charles had recorded an album of duets, entitled Genius Loves Company, featuring Norah Jones, Van Morrison, and Gladys Knight, amongst others. It was released in August 2004, reaching number one in the Billboard 200 and claiming eight Grammy Awards. Three more posthumous albums were released: Genius & Friends (2005), Ray Sings, Basie Swings (2006) and Rare Genius: The Undiscovered Masters (2010).
Personal life: Ray Charles married his first wife Eileen Williams in 1951, but they soon divorced the following year. His second wife was Della Beatrice Howard Robinson, to whom he was married between 1955 and 1977 and had three children: Ray Charles, Jr., David and Robert. At the time of his death, he was in a relationship with Norma Pinella. Ray had a further nine children to several different women: his first child was Evelyn, born to Louise Mitchell in 1950. During his marriage to Della he had an affair with Raelettes singer Margie Hendricks, with whom he had a son named Charles Wayne in 1959. He also had an affair with Mae Mosely Lyles resulting in a daughter named Raenee in 1961. He had another daughter, Sheila Raye Charles Robinson, by Sandra Jean Betts in 1963, and yet another named Alicia, by an unidentified woman in 1966. He followed that with Alexandra by Chantal Bertrand. His next son was Vincent, with whom he welcomed with Arlette Kotchounian; his girlfriend following his second divorce. His last two children were Robyn, born to Gloria Moffett, and Ryan Corey born to Mary Anne den Bok in 1987. Ray suffered from heroin addiction in his youth, which saw him arrested for possession twice: in 1961 and 1964. He enjoyed chess as a hobby, using a special board for blind people. He passed away in 2004 having succumbed to liver cancer.
It was the last 'In Performance at The White House' of Obama's presidency, and featured performances from Usher and Demi Lovato.
Despite his grave assurances that he would NOT be singing at the start of the evening, President Obama couldn’t help but be swept along at a star-studded tribute event for the music of Ray Charles at the White House.
Paying tribute to the late singer, who died in 2004, the President led the crowd in a sing-a-long during filming the final episode of the current series of ‘In Performance at The White House’ on Wednesday (February 25th), and the last such event of his presidency.
The Ray Charles tribute evening was the last of Obama's 'In Performance at The White House' series
Claude Nobs, the founder of the Montreux jazz festival, has died, following a ski accident, which resulted in him being in a coma for several weeks.
The Guardian reports that Nobs was cross-country skiing in the village of Caux, near to Montreux and Lake Geneva. His accident happened on Christmas Eve (2012), the festival’s secretary general Mathieu Jaton confirmed on Monday (January 7, 2013).
Claude – who was aged 76 when he died – began the legendary and highly respected festival back in 1967, whilst he worked at the tourism office at the Swiss resort. Some of the world’s biggest stars have played at the festival, including Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan and Prince. He’s not been afraid of taking risks and potentially upsetting the jazz fraternity; last year, the ‘love her or hate her’ singer Lana Del Rey was one of the lead artists performing at the festival. His renown amongst musicians is widespread and Deep Purple even immortalised the man in song, referring to him as ‘Funky Claude’ in their song ‘Smoke on the Water.’
Continue reading: Montreux Jazz Festival's Claude Nobs Dies After Ski Accident Coma
What, you aren't frantically dialing your phone to reserve your copy at the video store yet? Take off your shoes and put down the car keys. If this video has proven anything, it's that what can be funny for 1/2 a minute probably usually won't make it for 91. Oh, how Super Dave proves it.
Continue reading: The Extreme Adventures Of Super Dave Review
1) The music is great, coming from a legendary line-up of soul and blues artists: James Brown, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, Cab Calloway, and Ray Charles, whose performance of "Shake a Tail Feather" will get you dancing with the horde of extras onscreen.
Continue reading: The Blues Brothers Review
Ray Charles - Interviews and Clips
“Soul is a way of life, but it is always the hard way.” - Ray Charles
If a life is merely the sum of its parts, then the story of Ray Charles might read as a tale of personal highs and lows behind a lengthy, award-winning career in the music business.
But for a man who synthesized his struggles, pain and personal darkness as effectively as he incorporated a myriad of musical styles-Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Rock and Roll, Gospel, Country & Western -into his art, the story reads much differently, transformed from a sequence of events and accomplishments into a compelling and ultimately inspiring journey of a one-of-a-kind genius with a distinct vision…who, along the way, gave the world a new way to hear.
Ray is the never-before-told, musical biographical drama of American legend Ray Charles, brought to the big screen following a 15-year journey by award-winning filmmaker TAYLOR HACKFORD and featuring a remarkable performance from the multifaceted JAMIE FOXX.
Director Hackford (The Devil’s Advocate, Dolores Claiborne, An Officer and a Gentleman) - who, along with producing partner STUART BENJAMIN (La Bamba, The Long Walk Home, Everybody’s All-American), spent the last 15 years developing this story with Ray Charles - presents a well defined portrait of an artist who turned his personal encounters with darkness into a burning light.
The story of Ray – that of an impoverished, blind child of the segregated South who went on to break down social and artistic barriers and change the history of American music – is the quintessentially American story of a man’s fight to control his own destiny.
With Foxx assuming the title role in a performance of intensity, breadth and truth, Ray follows the most volatile period of Charles’ career - born in a poor town in Georgia, he went blind at the age of seven shortly after witnessing his younger brother’s accidental death.
Inspired by a fiercely independent mother who insisted he make his own way in the world, Charles found his calling and his gift behind a piano keyboard. The real journey begins the moment this young, black, blind teenager courageously boards a Florida bus all alone and heads across the United States to hone his art in the happening Seattle jazz scene.
Soul singing legend Ray Charles passed away on 10th June, 2004, leaving behind 12 children. One of these children's mother has come forward wanting the late singer's estate to pay more child support.
The mother of the late Ray Charles' teenage son has spoken to a California court regarding child support payments from his leftover estate. Mary Anne Den Bok wishes for the current 3 thousand USD per month payments to be increased to 60 thousand USD; she put forward the petition on Tuesday 10th August 2004.
The plea proclaimed that money form Charles' estate should be used to ensure that 16-year-old Corey Robinson Den Bok continues "the lifestyle he enjoyed" before his father passed away. While Den Bok believes she is entitled to 60 thousand USD, she thinks that 240,800 USD every month would be more suitable. A decision is due to be made with a hearing set to take place on 27th September 2004 at Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Date of birth
30th September, 1930
Date of death
10th June, 2004