Ray Charles biography

Ray Charles Born: September 23, 1930, Albany, Georgia Died: June 10, 2004, Beverly Hills, California Ray Charles is known for his innovative blend of genres — his enormously popular body of work reflects inspiration from gospel, blues, jazz, pop, R&B, soul and country. As a vocalist he was originally inspired by Nat King Cole, and his early recordings reflect this smooth influence. Charles later came into his own with 1954's "I've Got a Woman," which marked a dramatic change in his style — it reflected a heavy gospel influence integrated with pop and his vocals were suddenly uninhibited and raw. This trend in Charles's music would continue, culminating in his 1959 signature hit and timeless classic "What'd I Say." His ability to bring together many influences, infusing them all with a gospel core, has had a huge impact on both soul and rock and roll music, influencing Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, Stevie Wonder, and others. Charles is often referred to as the Father of Soul. He is a legendary musical figure and continues to tour.