takes you back stage
to see the Blues Foundation
Charles his Lifetime
at the House of
OUR MYSPACE FRIENDS
John Andrew Parks
Jones introduces Ray Charles
friends Willie and Ray hug when
Ray Charles is presented with the
Lifetime Achievement Award
a term overused in the extreme within the hyoperbole-laden music industry.
But the braintrust
Atlantic Records did not overstate the case one iota when they anointed
Ray Charles with the enduring
in 1959 with the enduring mantle in 1959. Charles personifies the
exalted term in most righteous
if not for his groundbreaking hybrid of Blues and Gospel, the invention
of Soul music might have
taken place at all (or developed in some very different directions).
Ray Charles Robinson (he dropped the surname early to avoid confusion with
boxing champ Sugar Ray
in Albany, Georgia on September 23, 1930, he grew up in Greenville, Florida.
Poverty was no
to the household--shoes were considered a luxury-but there was always music
to make life more
Local pianist Wylie Pitman was quick to take the lad under his wing, getting
him started tinkling the
at the tender age of three.
John Melencamp introduces Willie
Nelson receives the B.B. King
Blues Hero Awards (
him for more.)
Tragedy struck when Ray was five: he began to lose his sight.
Two years later, he was totally
blind. But that didn't stop him from pursuing a musical direction.
Sent away to a school for the
sightless in St. Augustine, Fl, he furthered his piano skills at the
facility, falling in love with
pianistic of Nat King Cole and Art Tatum as well as bedrock Gospel, down
home Blues, swinging
Big Bands, and even the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcasts that floated through
corridors every Saturday evening. All these interconnected musical
styles coalesced into Ray's
singular musical approach.
Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Awards
impresario in the broadest and most
sense of the word. His career has encompassed
roles of composer, record producer, artist, film producer,
conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record
executive, magazine founder and multi-media
As a master inventor of musical hybrids,
has shuffled pop, soul, hip-hop, jazz, classical, African,
Brazilian music into many dazzling fusions, traversing
every medium, including records, live perform-
movies and television.
one and only Phil Spector
Jackson and friends
from the House
Raphaell and his wife backstage
he goes on with Willie Nelson.
Jean, who has performed at Farm Aid
a guest at Phil Spector's table.