Category: ray charles

On this day in music history: October 9, 1961 – “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 5 weeks on October 2, 1961. Written by Percy Mayfield, it is the sixth R&B chart topper and second pop chart topper for the Albany, GA born musician nicknamed “The Genius”. The song is originally recorded by Mayfield himself as an acapella demo, sending it to Specialty Records executive and producer Art Rupe. The songwriter then plays the song for his friend Ray Charles who likes it immediately and agrees to record it. The track is recorded at Bell Sound Studios in New York City on July 5, 1961, and features Charles duetting with Margie Hendrix of Charles’ female background vocal trio The Raelettes. Released as a single in August of 1961, “Hit The Road Jack” is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #55 on September 11, 1961, it rockets to the top of the chart five weeks later. The single wins Charles a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance in 1962. In later years, the song is used in numerous films, television shows including “Two And A Half Men”, “The Fisher King”, “Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie” and commercials. Rapper MC Lyte also paraphrases the chorus of “Jack” on her song “Paper Thin” in 1988. “Hit The Road Jack” is also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2013.

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On this day in music history: August 3, 1959 – “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 on August 17, 1959. Written and produced by Ray Charles, it is the fifth R&B chart topper for the Albany, GA born singer, songwriter and musician dubbed “The Genius”. The song is improvised on the spot at a gig in December 1958 when Charles and his band, having played their entire set list begin playing the song when they still have time to fill. After several people inquire about where they can purchase a copy of the song, Charles decides to record it after the tour finishes. The track is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City on February 18, 1959. On the session, Charles plays a Wurlitzer electric piano, which at the time is looked down upon by many musicians as a novelty and not a serious instrument. With Ray Charles’ use of the electric piano, he almost singlehandedly popularizes its use after the records release. Clocking in at nearly six and a half minutes, Atlantic Records at first is concerned about its length, and about how radio and the public will react to the suggestive call and response vocals of Charles and The Raelettes in the second half of the song. The label splits the track into two parts for the 45, and holds its release back until Summer. It takes off immediately, becoming the record that finally breaks Ray Charles into the pop mainstream. “What’d I Say” become one his signature songs, and the one he closes his live performances with for the remainder of his career. The single is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2000, and added to the National Recording Registry by The Library Of Congress in 2002.“What’d I Say” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.  

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: July 23, 1966 – “Let’s Go Get Stoned” by Ray Charles hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #31 on the Hot 100 on July 16, 1966. Written by Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson and Josephine Armstead, it is the eleventh and final chart topper for the legendary musician known as “The Genius”. Having met each other at the White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem in 1964, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson become bonded by their love of music, quickly becoming friends and songwriting partners before a romance blossoms between the pair. In 1965, they become staff songwriters at Scepter/Wand Records in New York City, then located in the building that becomes the future home of legendary disco Studio 54, often collaborating with their mutual friend, singer Jo Armstead. While hammering away at song ideas but not coming up with anything satisfactory, Nick blurts out to Val and Jo, “let’s go get stoned” (meaning drunk), making all of them laugh. But at that same moment, they begin spontaneously singing what becomes chorus of “Let’s Go Get Stoned”. The next day, their publisher Ed Silvers asks them if they have any new songs, and they play him the uncompleted “Stoned”. Silvers tells them if they can finish the song, that he could get Ray Charles to record it. Not believing he is serious, they complete the song and record a demo. The publisher passes the song on to Charles, who loves it and agrees to record it immediately. Ray records “Let’s Go Get Stoned” on December 5, 1965 at his studio RPM International in Los Angeles. Released as a single in May of 1966, the bluesy, swaggering “Let’s Go Get Stoned” becomes another smash for Charles. Entailing a bit of irony, it is Ray Charles’ first major hit since kicking his years long addiction to heroin. The song is also Ashford and Simpson’s first hit as songwriters, beginning one of the most celebrated musical partnerships (marrying in 1974), that lasts more than forty years until Ashford’s passing in 2011.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: June 2, 1962 – “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, topping the R&B singles chart for 10 weeks on May 26, 1962, and the Adult Contemporary chart for 5 weeks on June 9, 1962. Written by Don Gibson, it is the third pop and seventh R&B chart topper for the musician nicknamed “The Genius”. Written by country music legend Don Gibson, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” is originally recorded by Gibson in late 1957. Charles records the song at United/Western Recorders on February 15, 1962. It is the first single issued from the landmark album “Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music” (released in April of 1962) . Initially labelled “Ray’s Folly” by ABC Paramount Records executives who doubt its commercial potential, the album and single are an immediate smash with the public. Entering the Hot 100 at #86 on May 5, 1962, it surges to the top of the chart just four weeks later. A major hit in several genres, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” sets a record for the longest run at the top of the R&B singles chart that holds for over twenty years until it is tied by Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” in November 1982. “I Can’t Stop” also earns Ray Charles a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording in 1963, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: November 14, 1960 – “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #3 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, it is the first number one pop single for the musician dubbed “The Genius”. Famed musician and songwriter Carmichael writes “Georgia” in 1930, which becomes one of his best known and loved songs. Recorded at Capitol Studios in New York City on March 25, 1960, Charles’ version is released from his album “Genius Hits The Road” (his first for new label ABC-Paramount) in late August of 1960. Entering the Hot 100 at #94 on October 3, 1960, it climbs to the top of the chart seven weeks later. In 1979, Charles’ version of the pop standard is declared the official song for the state of Georgia. Charles also receives a public apology from Georgia state officials after having been banned from performing in the state when he refused to perform to segregated audiences in 1964. Ray Charles’ recording of “Georgia On My Mind” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1993.

On this day in music history: October 9, 1961 – “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 5 weeks on October 2, 1961. Written by Percy Mayfield, it is the sixth R&B chart topper and second pop chart topper for the Albany, GA born musician nicknamed “The Genius”. The song is originally recorded by Mayfield himself as an acapella demo, sending it to Specialty Records executive and producer Art Rupe. The songwriter then plays the song for his friend Ray Charles who likes it immediately and agrees to record it. The track is recorded at Bell Sound Studios in New York City on July 5, 1961, and features Charles duetting with Margie Hendrix of Charles’ female background vocal trio The Raelettes. Released as a single in August of 1961, “Hit The Road Jack” is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #55 on September 11, 1961, it rockets to the top of the chart five weeks later. The single wins Charles a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance in 1962. In later years, the song is used in numerous films, television shows including “Two And A Half Men”, “The Fisher King”, “Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie” and commercials. Rapper MC Lyte also paraphrases the chorus of “Jack” on her song “Paper Thin” in 1988. “Hit The Road Jack” is also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2013.

Born on this day: September 23, 1930 – “The Genius” Ray Charles (born Ray Charles Robinson in Albany, GA). Happy Birthday to this musical icon on what would have been his 88th Birthday.

On this day in music history: August 3, 1959 – “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #6 on the Hot 100 on August 17, 1959. Written and produced by Ray Charles, it is the fifth R&B chart topper for the Albany, GA born singer, songwriter and musician dubbed “The Genius”. The song is improvised on the spot at a gig in December 1958 when Charles and his band, having played their entire set list begin playing the song when they still have time to fill. After several people inquire about where they can purchase a copy of the song, Charles decides to record it after the tour finishes. The track is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City on February 18, 1959. On the session, Charles plays a Wurlitzer electric piano, which at the time is looked down upon by many musicians as a novelty and not a serious instrument. With Ray Charles’ use of the electric piano, he almost singlehandedly popularizes its use after the records release. Clocking in at nearly six and a half minutes, Atlantic Records at first is concerned about its length, and about how radio and the public will react to the suggestive call and response vocals of Charles and The Raelettes in the second half of the song. The label splits the track into two parts for the 45, and holds its release back until Summer. It takes off immediately, becoming the record that finally breaks Ray Charles into the pop mainstream. “What’d I Say” become one his signature songs, and the one he closes his live performances with for the remainder of his career. The single is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2000, and added to the National Recording Registry by The Library Of Congress in 2002.“What’d I Say” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.  

On this day in music history: July 23, 1966 – “Let’s Go Get Stoned” by Ray Charles hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #31 on the Hot 100 on July 16, 1966. Written by Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson and Josephine Armstead, it is the eleventh and final chart topper for the legendary musician known as “The Genius”. Having met each other at the White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem in 1964, Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson become bonded by their love of music, quickly becoming friends and songwriting partners before a romance blossoms between the pair. In 1965, they become staff songwriters at Scepter/Wand Records in New York City, then located in the building that becomes the future home of legendary disco Studio 54, often collaborating with their mutual friend, singer Jo Armstead. While hammering away at song ideas but not coming up with anything satisfactory, Nick blurts out to Val and Jo, “let’s go get stoned” (meaning drunk), making all of them laugh. But at that same moment, they begin spontaneously singing what becomes chorus of “Let’s Go Get Stoned”. The next day, their publisher Ed Silvers asks them if they have any new songs, and they play him the uncompleted “Stoned”. Silvers tells them if they can finish the song, that he could get Ray Charles to record it. Not believing he is serious, they complete the song and record a demo. The publisher passes the song on to Charles, who loves it and agrees to record it immediately. Ray records “Let’s Go Get Stoned” on December 5, 1965 at his studio RPM International in Los Angeles. Released as a single in May of 1966, the bluesy, swaggering “Let’s Go Get Stoned” becomes another smash for Charles. Entailing a bit of irony, it is Ray Charles’ first major hit since kicking his years long addiction to heroin. The song is also Ashford and Simpson’s first hit as songwriters, beginning one of the most celebrated musical partnerships (marrying in 1974), that lasts more than forty years until Ashford’s passing in 2011.

On this day in music history: June 2, 1962 – “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Ray Charles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, topping the R&B singles chart for 10 weeks on May 26, 1962, and the Adult Contemporary chart for 5 weeks on June 9, 1962. Written by Don Gibson, it is the third pop and seventh R&B chart topper for the musician nicknamed “The Genius”. Written by country music legend Don Gibson, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” is originally recorded by Gibson in late 1957. Charles records the song at United/Western Recorders on February 15, 1962. It is the first single issued from the landmark album “Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music” (released in April of 1962) . Initially labelled “Ray’s Folly” by ABC Paramount Records executives who doubt its commercial potential, the album and single are an immediate smash with the public. Entering the Hot 100 at #86 on May 5, 1962, it surges to the top of the chart just four weeks later. A major hit in several genres, “I Can’t Stop Loving You” sets a record for the longest run at the top of the R&B singles chart that holds for over twenty years until it is tied by Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” in November 1982. “I Can’t Stop” also earns Ray Charles a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording in 1963, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001. “I Can’t Stop Loving You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.