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Ray Charles Live Performance

Academy of Achievement

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Ray Charles Live Performance
Ray Charles Live Performance

Ray Charles Live Performance

Academy of Achievement

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Ray Charles (1930 -2004) was born in Albany, Georgia, at the beginning of the Great Depression. He began to lose his sight in his early childhood, and was completely blind by age seven. At age 15, he was an orphan. At 16, he moved on his own to Seattle, Washington to make a career in music. A gifted pianist and singer, he easily imitated the styles of other popular entertainers, but his career only took off when he found his own unique voice and style. Although he began recording professionally as early as 1950, he hit his stride in the middle of the decade with a groundbreaking fusion of Gospel music and secular Rhythm & Blues, pioneering the sound now known the world over as Soul Music. In a few short years, his hit songs, "I've Got a Woman," "What'd I Say," "Hallelujah I Love Her So," "Hit the Road, Jack" and "Lonely Avenue" made him an international sensation. Despite his success in the Soul style, he continuously expanded the range of his music, effortlessly crossing genres with landmark albums such as Genius + Soul = Jazz, and Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Over the course of his career, he received 17 Grammy Awards and was honored by governments around the world. At the time of his death at age 73, he had just recorded the album Genius Loves Company, which one eight Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. His life story was told in the award-winning motion picture "Ray," released four months after his death. This performance was recorded in the last year of his life, at the 2003 International Achievement Summit in Washington, D.C.

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