Ray Charles, blind since the age of 7 and orphaned at 14, did blues, jazz, and gospel as well as anyone before or since.
And, by doing them all together at once, he pioneered what we soon came to recognize as Soul.
That’s right. Ray Charles is the father of that whole genre.
Furthermore, he took these forms of Black American music, mingled them just enough with contemporary pop sounds and had massive crossover success. Ray Charles was one of the very first African American artists to be granted full, creative control of his career by a major record label.
Ray Charles had a nickname. Some say it was given to him by Sinatra himself. However he got it, it stuck, and people referred to him as "The Genius."
Pretty appropriate, don’t you think?
This is his story.