Ray Charles: The Life And Legacy Of A Genius

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Register to read the introduction… That comes from my mom. If there's something I want to do, I'm one of those people that won't be satisfied until I get it done. If I'm trying to sing something and I can't get it, I'm going to keep at it until I get it where I want it." - (Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 1998) This quotation from Ray Charles basically sums up the middle years of his life. Hits, hits, and more surrounded the middle years of Ray Charles's life. His first hit in this mode was "Mess Around," which was based on the 1929 classic "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" by Pinetop Smith. He had another hit with the rap like urban jive of "It Should Have Been Me." His career went into …show more content…
Despite his support of Martin Luther King Jr., in the 1960's and his support for the civil rights movement Charles courted controversy when he toured South Africa in 1981 despite an international boycott of the country because of its apartheid policy. He faced pickets in South Africa and fifteen North American cities he toured subsequently including Albany, Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto. The United Nations agency supporting the boycott asked him to apologize and promise not to visit South Africa until the abolition of apartheid to which he responded that they could "kindly kiss (my) far end." Charles described himself as a "Huber Humphrey Democrat" despite this, Charles still accepted 100,000 to perform America the Beautiful at Ronald Reagan's inaugural ball. In response to criticism, his manager, Ray Adams, commented: "for that kind of money we would have sung America the Beautiful at a Ku Klux Klan …show more content…
It seems that the moral to the story of Ray's life is that a man can only be free when he's not a slave to a subordinate. It also seems to want to celebrate the idea that it is only out of conflict, pain, and captivity that passionate music can be birthed. This theme is also apparent in all of the discussion that we had in class referring to the birth of African slave songs, the blues, jazz, and even spirituals. It seems that black people had to go through a struggle in order to produce great music. Black people also had to overcome their situations and I think Ray has proven to be a prime example. Despite of his handicap he did not let this bring him too far down. Ray Charles, eventually overcame sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll to live a long and prosperous life in the limelight, there are hundreds, if not thousands of anonymous artists who die of an overdose (even in this story, one of Ray's lovers ODs), waste away with a sexually transmitted disease, or simply wash out, unremembered and unfulfilled. Ray Charles may have passed away but his life and legacy along with his numerous musical hits will forever remain in our

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