Influenced by multiple genres of music (jazz, blues, country, gospel and R&B) Ray Charles was one of the, if not the pioneer of soul music in the 1950s. Late in 1954, he recorded his own composition, I Got a Woman, and the song became his first number one R&B hit in 1955. It launched his career and there was no looking back. When you think about it, like Stevie Wonder, it’s truly amazing the vision this man had as a non-sighted person. His impact continues to be felt and allows the current generations to appreciate his gift. I loved his 1991 diet Pepsi commercial. His life was celebrated via Jamie Foxx’s Academy Award winning portrayal of him in the 2004 movie Ray. And, I Got a Woman was sampled in Kanye West’s 2005 hit Gold Digger.
I see you Ray!
*In 1979 President Jimmy Carter decreed that June would be Black Music Month. Three decades later in 2009 President Barack Obama revamped the title and declared June African-American Music Appreciation Month. Each day this month I am turning up the volume on an artist or song brought to you by the letter R. Enjoy!*