Ray Charles embodied something raw and deeply, authentically American. He was born in segregation-era Georgia in 1930 to a poor family that was, in his words, "on the bottom of the ladder." He was totally blind by the age of 6. His parents had both died by the time he was 15. At 22, he had already inked a deal with Atlantic Records, and stardom was only a few recordings away. Over the next fifty years, Charles would transform the worlds of gospel, blues, R&B, rock & roll and more.
Click the "Listen" link to hear a celebration of the life and music of Mr. Ray Charles.
Michael Lydon, author of "Ray Charles: Man and Music"
Al Kooper, longtime musician, singer-songwriter, producer, former professor at the Berkelee College of Music
Roy Haynes, jazz drummer, recorded with Ray Charles in the 1960s on the hit tune "Mint Julep" and others
This program aired on June 10, 2004.