Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician and composer, who is sometimes referred to as “The Genius”.
He pioneered the genre of soul music during the 1950s by combining rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records.He also contributed to the racial integration of country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his two Modern Sounds albums.While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.
Charles was blind from the age of seven. Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, and country artists of the day, including Art Tatum, Louis Jordan, Charles Brown and Louis Armstrong. Charles’ playing reflected influences from country blues, barrelhouse and stride piano styles. He had strong ties to Quincy Jones, who often cared for him and showed him the ropes of the “music club industry.”
Frank Sinatra called him “the only true genius in show business”, although Charles downplayed this notion.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Charles at number ten on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”,[ and number two on their November 2008 list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”.Billy Joel observed: “This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley”.
” is a song written by Cindy Walker based on a title and storyline given to her by Eddy Arnold in 1955. “You Don’t Know Me” was first recorded by Arnold that year and released as a single on April 21, 1956 on RCA Victor. The first version of the song to make the Billboard charts was by Jerry Vale in 1956, peaking at #14 on the pop chart. Arnold’s version charted two months later, released as an RCA Victor single, 47-6502, backed with “The Rockin’ Mockin’ Bird”, which reached #10 on the Billboard country chart. Cash Box magazine, which combined all best-selling versions at one position, included a version by Carmen McRae that never appeared in the Billboard Top 100 Sides listing.
Notable recorded versions
The best-selling version of the song is by
who took it to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1962, after releasing the song on his #1 album Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music. This version also topped the “Easy listening” chart for three weeks in 1962, and was used in the 1993 comedy film Groundhog Day. The song was the twelfth number one country hit for Mickey Gilley in 1981.