Ray Charles


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The Genius!

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 of as it’s a standard, 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.

The following year he has his first success with a composition of his own in I’ve Got A Woman, which reached #1, and 51 years later would be sampled by Kanye West for his hit Gold Digger.

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.

Following this, Ray would swap the record label for ABC. Here he released Georgia On My Mind, Hit The Road Jack, Unchain My Heart, I Can’t Stop Loving You, You Don’t Know Me, and You Are My Sunshine. 

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.

In 1980, he performed a cover of Shake A Tailfeather in the movie The Blues Brothers. This tune reminded us all of how great Ray Charles is and the tune made it onto every soul band’s repertoire since.

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


Baby Won’t You Please Come Home

Baby Won't You Please Come Home chords and guitar lessons

| D7 | B7 | Em7 | A7 |
Baby won’t you please come home, ’cause your mama’s all alone.
| D7 | B7 | Em7 | A7 |
I have cried in vain, never no more to call your name.

Go to Baby Won’t You Please Come Home chords.


Georgia On My Mind

G | B7/F# B7 |
Georgia, Georgia.
Em Dm69 | C C#dim7 |
The whole day through (the whole day through).

Go to Georgia On My Mind chords.


Hit The Road Jack

G#m F# | E7 D#7 |
Hit the road Jack, and don’t you come back,
G#m F# | E7 D#7 |
no more, no more, no more, no more.

Go to Hit The Road Jack chords.