Earl F. Baker III
Ms. Sears/Ms. Mason
R English IV
Ray Charles: The Influence Of “The Genius”
Ray Charles was the most influential individual involved in the creation of the soul genre. Through the innovative idea of taking lyrics frequently found in R&B and blending it together with the background music of gospel, he was able to create an entirely different style of music, Soul music.
Soul music originated in about 1950 and became popular among people as a new type of music that was fun and easy to dance and listen to. It took gospel music, which was music set on spiritual desires, and combined it with R&B, which had a heavier focus on worldly desires, such as love. With record labels such as Motown, Atlantic records, and Stax at…show more content… None of this would be possible without the work of “The Genius” Ray Charles. Ray’s original interest in music was brought on by his mother, Aretha, who was a devout Christian.. He never really saw much of his father. When he was very young, Ray was interested in the mechanical workings of things. He liked to watch others work on things such as cars, or watch a man named Mr. Wylie play the piano. Mr. Wylie taught Ray how to play the piano and gave Ray and his mother a place to stay whenever they had financial struggles. However, money wasn’t the only struggle Ray had to face. At five years old, Charles witnessed the drowning of his brother. This event would go on to scar Ray and leave him feeling incredible guilt, but also helping him to find solace in music. At the age of five, Ray also had to deal with another major hardship in his life: He went blind. This forced him to study incredibly hard in order to learn how to play the piano. Ray then went on to become a very successful piano player in Florida. The final hardship that Ray had to overcome in his early years was at the age of fourteen, when his mother died. This would forever be considered by Ray to be the second of the “two greatest…show more content… Luckily, the police lacked the proper search warrant so the charges were dropped and Ray was able to continue his music. Ray was a heroin addict and had only a few words to say about it. He once was quoted saying, “I did it to myself. It wasn't society... it wasn't a pusher, it wasn't being blind or being black or being poor. It was all my doing.”(Brainyquotes) Ray accepted full responsibility for his addiction. There is no evidence that his heroin addiction helped or hurt his music, though he didn’t have many number one charting songs during the peak of his drug use. Ray had fallen out of favor with the public and his career looked as though he would never be the legend of a musician that he once was. His addiction was spiraling out of control when finally, a bad event in his life led to great results. In 1965, Ray was arrested once more for Heroin use. In order to avoid going to prison, Ray agreed to go to rehabilitation and this was what he needed to kick his addiction and reclaim his spot in the light. In 1966, Ray reappeared in the top single chart with his singles “I Don’t Need No Doctor”, which referenced the time he spent in rehabilitation. During this time he also made the hit single “Let’s Go Get Stoned” which quickly became his first Number one rhythm and blues single in four years. Ray would soon fall out of the public light, but not before winning another Grammy in