Ray Charles’s tunes can be divided into three categories. Written by him, written for him, and covered by him.
Either of these three ways, Ray Charles always managed to make the tunes his own, which is interesting as he started out as a Nat King Cole wannabe!
Nat was Ray’s big hero and he imitated him so well that when it came time to record, the producers and labels had to tell him: If we wanted Nat, we’d call him!
Anyway, soon Ray got it together and began recording fully as himself, which would result in Ray Charles becoming one of the most influential artists of all time, his peers referring to him as The Genius!
Ray Charles’s first release that we know as a jazz standard, was Baby Won’t You Please Come Home. Released by Ray in 1952, it didn’t chart, perhaps because it wasn’t released on a major label, perhaps it was because so many other artists had already had a hit with it, including Bessie Smith, Clarence Williams, Louie Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Count Basie, Bing Crosby, and Benny Goodman!
In 1953 things would change for Ray as he was now signed to Atlantic and the president of the label, Ahmet Ertegun had written a song for him in Mess Around. This would be Ray’s first big tune, it reached #3 in the charts.
1955 and another #1 in A Fool For You, 1956, and three big tunes in Drown In My Own Tears (#1), Mary Ann (#1), and Hallelujah I Love Her So which didn’t get to #1 but with time became one of Ray’s most loved tunes.
Next, it would be three years before another big single would appear from our favorite Ray, but this was a big one in What’d I Say in 1959.
This all happened between 1960-1962 and must be seen as Ray’s most productive period.
Post-1963, Ray Charles didn’t have any more big hits as such, at least not ones that lasted, tunes that he released first and became synonymous with Ray Charles as an artist.
During the late 60s and 70s, he did continue to release his own songs and covers such as The Beatles’ Yesterday and Eleanor Rigby as well as Stevie Wonder’s Living For The City, but the creative glory days were somewhat over.
However, by now he had such a huge catalog that he didn’t need it anymore. Although he did have one more ace up his sleeve.
Ray would continue to tour and perform, his last gig was on the 30th of April, 2004. He passed away less than two months later aged 73.
Ray Charles tunes | Related pages
You can learn how to play Angel Eyes by Frank Sinatra using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and Spytunes video guitar lessons.
| Am Am/G Am/F# Am/F | Am/E Am/Eb |
Try to think that love’s not around…
Baby Won’t You Please Come Home
Learn how to play Baby Won’t You Please Come Home by Clarence Williams using chords, lyrics, and a Spytunes video guitar lesson.
| D7 | B7 | Em7 | A7 |
Baby won’t you please come home, ’cause your mama’s all alone…
Georgia On My Mind
You can learn how to play Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| G | B7/F# B7 |
Hit The Road Jack
You can learn how to play Hit The Road Jack by Ray Charles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| G#m F# | E7 D#7 |
Hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back…
I Got A Woman
You can learn how to play I Got A Woman by Ray Charles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| A7 | E7 | A7 D9 | A7 |
Well, I got a woman, way over town that’s good to me, oh yeah…
Shake A Tail Feather
You can learn how to play Shake A Tail Feather by the Blues Brothers and Ray Charles using chords, lyrics, TAB, and the original recording.
| D5 (D6) | G (G6) |
Well, I heard about the fellow you’ve been dancin’ with…