Ray Charles

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Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), better known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm & blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records.[1][2][3] He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his Modern Sounds albums.[4][5][6] While with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company.[2] Frank Sinatra called Charles “the only true genius in show business.”

Rolling Stone ranked Charles number 10 on their list of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" in 2004,[7] and number two on their November 2008 list of "100 Greatest Singers of All Time".[8] In honoring Charles, Billy Joel noted: "This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley. I don't know if Ray was the architect of rock & roll, but he was certainly the first guy to do a lot of things . . . Who the hell ever put so many styles together and made it work?"[9]

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