On this day in 2004, we lost a legend—the INCOMPARABLE Ray Charles! Today we celebrate his LEGACY!
Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records. He also contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues, 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 black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.
In 2016, U.S. President Barack Obama said that “Ray Charles’s version of ‘America the Beautiful’ will always be in my view the most patriotic piece of music ever performed—because it captures the fullness of the American experience, the view from the bottom as well as the top, the good and the bad, and the possibility of synthesis, reconciliation, transcendence.”