27 Facts About Ray Charles

1. In 2015, Ray Charles was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.

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2. In 1979, Ray Charles was one of the first musicians born in the state to be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

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3. Ray Charles was an inspiration to Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, who told the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet: "I was about 15.

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4. Ray Charles possessed one of the most recognizable voices in American music.

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5. Ray Charles donated $2 million to Morehouse "to fund, educate and inspire the next generation of musical pioneers.

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6. Ray Charles responded to the saga of his drug use and reform with the songs "I Don't Need No Doctor", "Let's Go Get Stoned", and the release of Crying Time, his first album since having kicked his heroin addiction in 1966.

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7. In 1964, Ray Charles was arrested for possession of marijuana and heroin.

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8. Ray Charles was arrested again on a narcotics charge on November 14, 1961, while waiting in an Indiana hotel room before a performance.

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9. In 1963, by Sandra Jean Betts, Ray Charles had a daughter, Sheila Raye Charles, a singer-songwriter who died of breast cancer on June 15, 2017.

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10. Ray Charles had a six-year-long affair with Margie Hendricks, one of the original Raelettes, and in 1959 they had a son, Charles Wayne.

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11. Ray Charles felt that his heroin addiction took a toll on Della during their marriage.

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12. Ray Charles was not in town for the birth because he was playing a show in Texas.

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13. Ray Charles was married twice and had 12 children with ten different women.

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14. Ray Charles died at his home in Beverly Hills, California of complications resulting from acute liver disease, on June 10, 2004, at the age of 73.

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15. In 2003, Ray Charles performed "Georgia on My Mind" and "America the Beautiful" at a televised annual banquet of electronic media journalists held in Washington, DC His final public appearance was on April 30, 2004, at the dedication of his music studio as a historic landmark in Los Angeles.

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16. In 1974, Ray Charles left ABC Records and recorded several albums on his own label, Crossover Records.

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17. Ray Charles reached the pinnacle of his success at Atlantic with the release of "What'd I Say", which combined gospel, jazz, blues and Latin music.

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18. Ray Charles hired a female singing group, The Cookies, and renamed them The Raelettes.

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19. Ray Charles recorded jazz, such as The Great Ray Charles and worked with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, releasing Soul Brothers in 1958 and Soul Meeting in 1961.

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20. Ray Charles started playing the one-to-five AM shift at the Rocking Chair with his band McSon Trio, which featured McKee on guitar and Milton Garrett on bass.

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21. In 1947, Ray Charles moved to Tampa, where he had two jobs: one as a pianist for Charles Brantley's Honeydippers.

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22. Ray Charles eventually started to write arrangements for a pop music band, and in the summer of 1947 he unsuccessfully auditioned to play piano for Lucky Millinder and his sixteen-piece band.

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23. At age 16, Ray Charles moved to Orlando, where he lived in borderline poverty and went without food for days.

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24. Ray Charles decided to leave Jacksonville and move to a bigger city with more opportunities.

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25. Ray Charles played the piano for bands at the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla for over a year, earning $4 a night.

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26. Ray Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was influenced by Louis Jordan and Charles Brown.

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27. Ray Charles contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues, and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, notably with his two Modern Sounds albums.

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