Ray Charles was born on this day, Sept. 23, in 1930 in Albany, Ga. Charles created music that ranged in style from rhythm and blues and gospel to blues. In addition, he was a key figure in the integration of country and pop music in the 1960s and had a great deal of crossover success.
When Charles was recording with ABC Records, he became one of the first Black musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company. Frank Sinatra once referred to Charles as “the only true genius in show business.”
Charles started to lose his sight at the age of five and was completely blind by the age of seven as a result of glaucoma. His 1954 composition, “I Got a Woman” became a number-one R&B hit and brought him to national prominence.
Charles died in 2004 of liver failure at the age of 73.
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