One of soul music’s most influential pioneers, Ray Charles overcame a number of personal and professional battles during his rise to stardom. Here are some of the most important highlights from his lengthy musical career.
- Though Ray Charles is known for being blind, he wasn’t born that way. Charles began to gradually lose his sight as a child, and he didn’t become fully blind until age seven.
- When he moved to Seattle at age 16, Charles befriended Quincy Jones. The legendary songwriter, trumpet player, and music producer often credits Charles for getting him into music. The two remained lifelong friends.
- Just one year after his first record deal with Atlantic Records, Charles saw his first number one single with “I Got a Woman." The song is now one of his most legendary.
- Charles has had a lot of nicknames throughout his career. When he first started to become successful, fellow musicians called him “The Genius” because of the previously unheard of way in which he blended musical styles. Later, he became known as “The Father of Soul."
- Charles was among the first group of musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1986, he received the honor with fellow musicians like Elvis, Chuck Berry, and James Brown.