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Ray Charles

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Ray Charles has the distinction of being both a national treasure and an international phenomenon. He started out from no where, years later finds him a global entity. The Ray Charles story is full of paradoxes, part and parcel of the American dream, ÐŽorags to richesÐŽ±. Triumph overcoming tragedy. The name Ray Charles is on a Star on Hollywood BoulevardЎЇs Walk of Fame. His bronze bust is enshrined in the Playboy Hall of Fame. There is the bronze medallion cast and presented to him by the French Republic on behalf of its people. There are the Halls of Fame: Rhythm & Blues, Jazz, Rock & Roll. There are the many gold records and the 12 Grammys. There is the blackness and the blindness. There was the extreme poverty; there was the segregated South into which he was born. It is music, Ray CharlesЎЇ single driving force, that catapulted a poor, black, blind, teenager from there to here.

The first child of Aretha and Baily Robinson was born in Albany, GA, on September 23, 1930. He hit the road early, at about three months, when the RobinsonЎЇs moved across the border to Greenville, FL. It was the height of the Depression years and the RobinsonЎЇs had started out poor.

Blind since the age of seven (from glaucoma), Charles studied compo

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But Charles didnЎЇt really capture the pop audience until ÐŽoWhat'd I Say,ÐŽ± which caught the favor of the church with its pleading vocals, as well as the spirit of rock & roll with its classic electric piano line.

ÐŽoI was born with music inside me.

In the past decade despite his intense reticence to expose the personal portion of his life to public scrutiny, Ray Charles is as outspoken about his opinions on matters of global interest as he is about matters of music. By the early 1960ЎЇs Ray Charles had accomplished his dream.

He has drawn from each of these musical streams and made a river that he alone can navigate. He is master of his soul, musically and personally. Ray Charles is a national treasure and a global phenomenon for this reason: He is music; he is himself; he is a master of his soul. He was allowed to develop his great gift of music.

Rhythm & blues (or ÐŽorace musicÐŽ±



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