Legendary musician Ray Charles is one of the new 2021 inductees of the Country Hall of Fame. He is joined by session mother-daughter duo the Judds, session drummer Eddie Bayers and guitarist Pete Drake. While Charles might be better known for his pioneer work in the blues, jazz and R&B genres, the artist is also closely associated with the country genre. This is due mainly to his 1962 genre-bending album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Check out the official announcement below.
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The album offered a bridge between Charles’ most known sounds and country, and it’s the reason Charles is now being inducted into the Country Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. Even after the release of his record, Charles continued to work with country artists, like icons Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
Ray Charles was born in 1930, and was a pianist, composer, singer and songwriter. Charles was also often referred to as “The Genius” by his fellow musicians. Swing legend Frank Sinatra once called him “The only genius in our business.” He lost his eyesight during childhood due to glaucoma. He started his music career when he was 17 years old and made music until his death in 2004. Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music was his first album in the Billboard Top 200 charts. His 1960 song “Georgia on My Mind” was his first number 1 hit, followed by “Hit The Road Jack” (61) and “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (62).
In 2004, the life of the legendary musician was turned into the biopic Ray featuring Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles. Throughout the movie, real footage of the musician was featured.