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15 Reasons Why Ray Charles Was Cool

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A nice article about Ray Charles by the staff of ChartAttack.com.

"Rather than dwelling on the sadness of Charles' passing, we choose to focus on the incredible life he lived and his insurmountable contribution to the world of music. Here are our Top 15 Reasons Why Ray Charles Was Cool.

1. Charles was known as "The Genius Of Soul." It was one rare case where such a lofty title was actually deserved.

2. He started playing piano when he was only two years old. The piano remained his instrument of choice and he used it to define true soul music.

3. Despite a childhood full of hardship (Charles lost his sight at age 6 and was orphaned at age 15), he managed to pull himself together and make something incredible out of his life. After his mother?s death, 17-year-old Charles traveled from his home in Florida to Seattle, where he competed in a talent contest. He won the contest and promptly got a job playing at a local Elks Club, thus launching his career.

4. Charles? real name was Ray Charles Robinson. He dropped the Robinson after entering show business so that he wouldn?t be confused with boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. We think Ray Charles has a nicer ring to it anyway.

5. Listen to the vocal performance on "What?d I Say." It says it all.

6. Charles was not only a phenomenal performer, but he also was an accomplished songwriter and arranger. After losing his sight, he learned to read music in braille.

7. Although Charles is credited as a pioneer of soul, he managed to defy genre classification, making a mark on the R&B, pop and even country charts.

8. He actually managed to make those Diet Pepsi ads kind of cool. Uh huh.

9. Although he didn?t write the song, Charles recorded the definitive version of "Georgia On My Mind." The song became the official Georgia state song in 1979.

10. Charles suffered through a heroin addiction for nearly 20 years, but managed to live the last four decades of his life drug-free. He was busted for drugs at an airport in 1964. After being convicted and handed a suspended sentence if he remained clean, he quit cold turkey.

11. Even though the bulk of his hits were recorded in the ?60s, Charles kept working into his old age. In 1985, he released Friendship, a collection of duets that included the stellar "Seven Spanish Angels" with Willie Nelson.

12. Charles always had a sense of humour about himself and made a few TV appearances throughout the ?80s, most notably a guest spot on Who?s The Boss, in which he happily flirted with Mona. He also appeared on episodes of Moonlighting and St. Elsewhere.

13. Unlike so many others, he cranked out some amazing Beatles covers, including an outstandingly soulful "Eleanor Rigby."

14. Although ill, Charles managed to attend a public ceremony in April in which his Los Angeles studio was declared a historic landmark.

15. Above all, Ray Charles was a truly original talent. The very timber of his voice and soulful rhythm of his playing will forever be immediately recognizable."

:good job:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thought he was good in "The Blues Brothers" movie back in 1980. It was funny as Hell to see him shoot the pistol to scare off the shoplifter. :)

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