(Courtesy of Concord Music)
During a career that spanned some 58 years, Ray Charles performed a total of more than 10,000 concerts, and starred on over 100 albums, many of them top sellers in a variety of musical genres. He received the Lifetime Achievement and the President’s Merit Award, is a recipient of the Presidential Medal For the Arts, Kennedy Center Honors, and France’s Legion of Honor, received the NAACP Image Awards “Hall of Fame Award in 2004, and is one of the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He appeared in movies such as “The Blues Brothers,” and starred in commercials for Coca-Cola, Diet Pepsi and California Raisins, among numerous others. In 2004, the biopic Raywas released for the world to see the historic life and times of the “Genius.” The movie garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and Jamie Foxx took home the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Ray. Charles’ last public performance was on July 20, 2003, in Alexandria, VA. In 1998, Charles received the Polar Music Award, an award given for significant achievements in music.
Referring to his gift Charles said, “I don’t call myself a blues singer or a jazz singer or a country singer. I just call myself a singer that can sing the blues, a singer that can sing jazz, a singer that knows how to sing country music, but in my own way.”