In ceremonies at the House of Blues in Hollywood in 2000, The Blues Foundation presented top honors to the legendary Ray Charles (1930-2004). They called him "the musician most responsible for developing soul music."
Ray Charles Robinson was that and more.
"I never wanted to be famous. I only wanted to be great," said Charles. The keyboard legend was born in Albany, Georgia and overcame poverty and blindness at age seven to change the world with his passionate music.
His career of over six decades with almost 100 albums includes such classics as Georgia on My Mind, I've Got a Woman, and Unchain My Heart.
"It's the music," said Charles. "Without the music there is nothing. Ever since I was three years old, music has always fascinated me, and it still does."
Brother Ray used music to express deep feelings with a sound, influenced by the church and blues, that was easily identifiable and potent. "Pain, happiness, soul, blues, and joy, he can do so many things with that sound," explained singer Billy Joel, who named his daughter Alexa Ray in honor of the musical genius.
"My voice is like a house," explained Charles, "I'm keeping up. You know, you don't ust build a house and do nothing else to it. You're always washing the windows, painting, adding a room."
In 2002, Charles was honored with the first-ever Grammy "Heroes" Award and his hometown college, Albany State University in Georgia, named him "Dr." Ray Charles. A singer, composer, arranger, sax player, and pianist, his towering influence is inestimable. He... and we... have been blessed.
"We live inside this unbelievable cosmos, inside our unbelievable bodies--everything is so perfect, everything is so in tune. I got to think God had a hand in it," Charles reflected.
Every one has music inside.