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The Life of Ray Charles: The Blind Who Sees - Research Paper Example

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The Life of Ray Charles: The Blind Who Sees

Ray Charles Robinson was born on September 23, 1930, in Albany, Georgia. His father, Bailey Robinson, was a mechanic, and his mother, Aretha Robinson, was a sharecropper. The Robinsons transferred to Florida, when Ray was a baby (“Ray Charles Biography”). A tragedy struck Ray’s childhood, when he was four years old. While playing at the front yard with his two-year old brother, George, the latter fell into the washtub (Robinson 128). Ray tried to pull out his brother, but he was too heavy for him (Robinson 128). By the time their mother came, George already drowned (Robinson 128). A year after his brother died, Ray had problems with his eye sight. During mornings, his eyes produced viscous fluid, which glued his eyelids together (Robinson 128). Soon, he complained of pain and heaviness on his eyes, and he had problems with his vision (Robinson 128). By the time Ray was six years old, he went blind, probably from glaucoma (Robinson 128). His mother persevered to instill a strong sense of self-worth in her son. She told him: “You're blind, not stupid. You lost your sight, not your mind” (Robinson 128). Mrs. Robinson taught his son the alphabet, some mathematics, and how to write in print (Robinson 128). When he became blind, she sent him to St. Augustine School for Deaf and Blind Children in Orlando (Robinson 128). Ray experienced further loss of loved ones. His mother died from gastric disorder, while his father died early too with diabetes (Robinson 128). Ray continued school for some time, before he ran away to find his luck in the music industry. In school, Ray learned to play diverse musical instruments, such as the “piano, organ, sax, clarinet and trumpet” (“Ray Charles Biography”). His musical interests varied, and he played music from the gospel, country, and the blues genres (“Ray Charles Biography”). At 16 years old, he moved to Seattle, where he lived at the city’s red-light district (“Ray Charles Biography”). There, he met a young Quincy Jones, who became a lifetime friend and colleague (“Ray Charles Biography”). Charles created a successful career through exploiting the effects of expressing emotions in his performances (“Ray Charles Biography”). He started out as a blues and jazz pianist in the 1940s, where he admitted that Nat King Cole's style heavily influenced him (“Charles, Ray”). Charles recorded his first hit, “Mess Around” (“Charles, Ray”). After that, he wrote an original song “It Should've Been Me” (“Charles, Ray”). He also arranged Guitar Slim's “The Things That I Used to Do,” which sold for millions of albums in 1953 (“Charles, Ray”). By 1954, Charles already perfected his eclectic mix of blues and gospel songs, when Atlantic Records signed him as an artist (“Ray Charles Biography”). Ray used his unique raspy voice to magnetize his audience and recorded new hits, “I've Got a Woman” and “Hallelujah I Love You So” (“Charles, Ray”). “What'd I Say” soared to the top of music records in 1959 and was his first song that reached millions of sales (“Charles, Ray”). In addition, Charles is known as an excellent music arranger and piano player (“Charles, Ray”). He brought the “funky” value of jazz to life once more, but he also recorded melodies that came from different musical genres (“Charles, Ray”). He delighted the music industry, when he composed songs for the ...Show more


Name Instructor Class 19 July 2012 The Life of Ray Charles: The Blind Who Sees Ray Charles was one of America's finest and most-awarded musicians (“Ray Charles Biography”). He developed soul music in the 1950s by blending rhythm and blues and gospel music (“Charles, Ray”)…
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