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Ray Charles facts

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Ray Charles started a foundation to help those with hearing disorders because while he did not believe his blindness was a handicap, he believed it was a handicap to not be able to hear music.

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As the artists showed up to participate in recording "We Are the World", Stevie Wonder informed each of them that if the song was not finished in one take, he and Ray Charles would be driving everyone home

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  1. The Ray Charles Foundation is dedicated to funding research for hearing disorders. When Ray was asked why, he said it was because music saved his life, and he wouldn't know what to do if he couldn't experience it.

  2. Sylvia Plath, Steven Tyler, Ray Charles, James Taylor, Marianne Faithful and David Foster Wallace were all patients at McLean Psychiatric Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts

  3. The full name of the possessed Chucky doll from the Child's Play franchise of horror movies was Charles Lee Ray, named after notorious killers Charles Manson, Lee Harvey Oswald, and James Earl Ray.

  4. Ray Charles, not only played the piano blind, but was also a keen chess player. His white and black squares had different elevation, and the pieces were shaped differently depending on the color.

  5. Ray Charles wrote “What’d I Say” by improvising on the spot during a live performance. He needed to fill 12 minutes of time and the song is what he came up with.

  6. In 1949 Ray Charles released "Confession Blues" which was his first single. It did well on the R&B charts and he followed with "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand" and "Kissa Me Baby".

  7. Ray's final album was released two months after he died, titled "Genius Loves Company".

  8. Throughout his career into the mid-1960s Ray Charles battled an addiction to heroin, but he managed to kick the habit at a clinic in L.A.

  9. Ray Charles died on June 10th, 2004, at 73 years of age.

  10. James Brown's group The Flames opened for B.B. King and Ray Charles.

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Ray Charles had 12 children and was married twice.

In 2008, a fire at Universal Studios destroyed masters of 500,000 songs including recordings by Ray Charles, Tom Petty, Buddy Holly, Barry White, Tupac Shakur, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and hundreds more. It took a decade for Universal to admit the extent of the damage. - source

Ray Charles" younger brother George drowned in the laundry tub when he was 4 years old.

Ray was talented at playing the blues, country, and gospel.

Ray Charles signed a deal with Atlantic Records in 1953 and his first R&B hit with the label was "Mess Around".

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Ray's early major influences included Nat King Cole and Charles Brown.

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In 1954 Ray Charles" song "I Got a Woman" reached number 1 and his music style became known as soul.

At the age of 16 Ray Charles moved to Seattle where he met Quincy Jones, who became a lifelong friend and collaborator.

Ray's career continued but his successes were not as many in his later career, however he maintained a high level of respect throughout.

While attending school in St. Augustine Florida, Ray learned to use Braille to read and write and compose music. He learned how to play the sax, trumpet, and clarinet while also furthering his talent on the piano and organ.

The kid that got shot at by Ray Charles while trying to steal a guitar in The Blues Brothers was played by the same actor who was Argyle the limo driver in Die Hard

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Bobby Sharp wrote the song "Unchain My Heart" the 1961 Ray Charles hit, in his parents' Harlem apartment. He sold the song the next day for $50 and bought drugs.

James Baldwin became friends with musicians such as Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Josephine Baker, and Ray Charles among many others.

Ray Charles underwent hip replacement surgery in 2003 which was successful. He planned to tour again but began to experience other illnesses and had to cancel.

Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Elton John have all performed concerts at the Colloseum.

On his 40th birthday, Ray Charles went on the Johnny Cash Show and performed two of Cash's hits, I Walk the Line and Ring of Fire.

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Ray Charles was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2015.

Ray Charles soon earned the nickname "The Genius" for his ability to blend multiple styles. He was also known as the "Father of Soul".

Elvis Costello incited a brawl after making racist remarks about James Brown and Ray Charles.

Ray Charles won a Grammy Award in 1960 for the song "Georgia on My Mind". He also won a Grammy for "Hit the Road Jack".

At the age of 15 Ray Charles toured in the South on the "Chitlin Circuit".

Country Music Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap was abandoned by his mother as an infant because she believed his blindness was punishment from God. Told by every teacher growing up to abandon music he went to law school until a meeting and endorsement from Ray Charles changed his mind.

Famed studio bass player Carol Kaye (Ray Charles, Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, and more) offers lessons via Skype.

Ray Charles insisted to be paid in one dollar bills so nobody could cheat him.

There is another highly accomplished musician by the name of Ray Charles, who also happened to have a song on the Billboard charts in 1964.

"Mathematica" was also the name for an exhibit of math concepts designed by Charles and Ray Eames.

In 2002, Ray Charles lent his name to the world’s first range of slot machines for the visually impaired.

Ray Charles hit #14 on the Pop chart in 1971 with an instrumental entitled "Booty Butt".

Kanye West did not come up with the music in Gold Digger. Ray Charles originally wrote the song "I Got A Women"

Yehi hai right choice, Baby" was a version of the Pepsi commercial by Ray Charles, and was immensely popular in India.

The song, "Fifty Nifty United States..." Was written by Ray Charles. Nope, not THAT Ray Charles... But this Ray also wrote the theme song for Three's Company, and other songs for The Muppet Show.

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