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Life and Music of Ray Charles

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    Life and Music of Ray Charles The history of musicians is a very interesting subject. There are thousands and millions of interesting types of musicians. Ray Charles was a very talented musician. His focus was on Soul Music, which was Jazz combined with Gospel music. Jazz was also a big focus of his music. Ray Charles wasn’t like other musicians. He was a blind musician. Many often wonder how someone can be blind and also be a musician, but Ray Charles was a fine example to show that it was possible. Ray Charles was born on September 23, 1930, in Albany, Georgia. His family was a very poor family.

    His father’s name was Baily and his mother’s name was Aretha. He was born during the Great Depression. When he was still just an infant him and his family moved to Greenville. Ray was a very happy young boy until he was five years old. He lost his one and only sibling, which was his younger brother, from drowning in a water tub. His childhood was somewhat sad and miserable. After he lost his brother due to the tragic drowning he slowly began losing his eyesight. It was a gradual process, but by the time he was seven years of age he had completely lost his eyesight. He went through many tragedies in his somewhat early childhood.

    Only ten years after his younger brother died his mother died. He was only fifteen years old when his mother passed away. He always enjoyed music from the time he was a very small young boy. Ray Charles was always very interested in music starting at a very young age. He went to a school in Saint Augustine, Florida for the deaf and blind. The school in Florida was where Ray learned more about music and learned how to compose music and also learned to read and write Braille. He learned to play many different musical instruments. A day for Ray consisted of studying all day, playing music, and also listening to different music.

    When his mother died he left school and joined a group who toured all over the south playing in various locations. Touring with the group is where he came about meeting his lifelong friend Quincy Jones. They met in Seattle and from then on they worked on many different projects with one another. The blindness never stopped Ray one bit. He acted as if he could see it all. He felt that he was closer with the music since he truly felt it and didn’t just read it off a piece of paper like all other musicians. Ray had a great attitude towards his music and the surrounding of music.

    The first recordings of his career were published in Tampa, Florida in 1947. After his recordings Ray formed his own group called McSon Trio and also moved to Los Angeles. That was merely the start of his musical career. He was soon to be a very well known musician. The group’s albums and singles that they released were some of the biggest hits of that time. He went on about his musical career and recorded his first commercial record, with over a million sold, in 1953. In January of 1986 Ray was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He made his own style of music.

    He mixed and combined many genres of music to create the style he liked. For many years to come he continued to throw smash hits one after another. Ray had to get admitted to a drug program after being arrested several times in his career for drugs. He got help with his drug problem and continued his music. Within that time he came up with his hit ‘Crying Time’. That song won Two Grammy awards. After that hit he got caught up with the law once again so he got five year suspension. From that point on his career went downhill. He had a few hit album releases after that time and then his career started coming to a stop.

    Throughout his entire music career Ray had twelve Grammy Awards. He was very proud of his musical career he made himself. Ray Charles lived a very long active life. He came from a very small family, but that had all changed by the time he passed away. By the time he passed away on June 10, 2004 from a Hepatocellualar Carcinoma, he had been through two marriages, nine children who were by five different women, twenty grandchildren and five great grandchildren. In May of 2003 he was diagnosed with liver cancer. The only thing he told the public was that he had hip problems because he didn’t want the public knowing about his diagnosis.

    He died in his home in Beverly Hills surrounded y friends and his girlfriend Norma. Urethra Franklin his long time very good friend announced after his death that he introduced the world to Secular Soul music. His funeral was handled by the Angelus Funeral Home. His body was also put on display at the LA Convention Center. His funeral services were held at First African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 18th. Many other great musicians from his time attended his funeral as his close friends and they included people such as Clint Eastwood, B. B. King, Stevie Wonder, Freda Payne, David Gest, Little Richard, Cicely Tyson, and Glenn Campbell.

    The death of Ray Charles was a very overwhelming sense to many people. Many senses ran through my head while writing this paper. Very little did I know about Ray Charles before researching this paper. Simply the reason he was chosen for this paper. Honestly I had never heard any of his music before now. It is very enticing and very upbeat. Ray Charles song ‘Georgia’ is a very slow tempo, steady beat song. It keeps you wondering. From my standpoint I absolutely love that song, although it was the first time hearing it, I enjoyed it very much. Many of his songs were slow, consonant harmony, very well put together songs.

    Many people still think of him as a huge hit today. He is a very interesting musician with a very interesting, chaotic life. His music mostly reflects the life that he lived. He showed his emotions well throughout everyone of his songs. Ray used a lot of work painting in his music. He thought of music as a very good way of expressing himself. His Blindness due to glychoma did not stop him or slow him down one bit from writing and performing his music as well as he did. He went on to prove that special needs people are not worthless. He took his dream as a musician and followed it until his last breath.

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