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Image for Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Ray Charles (singer, born September 23, 1930, Albany, Georgia; died June 10, 2004) The hoarse voice, the wide smile, the dark glasses, and the music that can pierce a soul or rock a full house--a sound that evolved from the foot-stomping, storefront flavor that revolutionized American popular music between 1954 and 1959 and continues to be a major influence. These are some of the components of the phenomenon known as Ray Charles. Ray Charles, singer, pianist, saxophonist, composer, and band leader, is a towering figure in popular music. He not only defined modern soul music but also helped escape country music and influenced dozens of rock singers. He performs with a gospel fervor that brings to his concerts the atmosphere of a revival meeting.