Ray Charles’ career started after he lost his sight due to glaucoma at the tender age of seven. Charles developed his musical talent while attending the Florida School For The Deaf & The Blind. As a young man, he toured the country breaking through many racial barriers. Charles continued to excel in the music world earning Grammy Awards for many of his songs. Charles has been in movies (“Blues Brothers” Performing the song: “Shake A Tail Feather”) as well as commercials (Diet Pepsi and The California Raisins). His life is a testimony to what one can accomplish if they put their mind to it.
10. "Mess Around" This was one of Charles’ first hit songs with Atlantic Records in 1953. This fun song gets your toes tapping and features boogie-woogie piano riffs.
9. "I Can’t Stop Loving You" This hit song was originally composed by country singer Don Gibson in 1957. When Charles sung in it 1962, the song stayed at the top of the charts in the US and in the UK for weeks. This is one of Charles’ best-recognized songs.
8. "America the Beautiful" In 1972, Charles lends his voice to this classic 1895 American song that brings a tear to the eyes of many whom hear it. It might be said that many people didn’t know of the other verses until Ray Charles sang them.
7. "Busted" Charles’ early life was living in poverty. This is a comical song about the truth in being broke and having bills to pay.
6. "It’s My World" This song speaks about activism and setting boundaries in regards to how the planet is handled by corporations.
5. "What’d I Say Parts 1 & 2" This 1959 free formed tune, Charles and his back up singers have fun with this song about a woman who doesn’t “do right” by her man. It was performed live one evening and people responded favorably to it so Charles decided to record it. The song features a long jazz piano introduction and was Charles’ break into the mainstream pop music culture.
4. "Singing This Song For You" and "You Don’t Know Me" These two songs tied for fourth place. Any stage performer would identify with “Singing This Song For You” about life on the road and singing for the one you love. “You Don’t Know Me” tells of someone who longs for someone but chooses the live in the shadows of that person’s life.
3. "Hit The Road Jack" A song about women kicking men to the curb in a relationship gone bad is what this Grammy Award winner is about.
2. "I Got A Woman" Charles’ love of a special woman is made clear in this song. It became his first number one hit in 1955.
1. "Georgia" Even though this song was written in 1930, it wasn’t until Charles recorded it in 1960 that it was brought to national prominence and adopted as the state of song of Georgia. This song pays tribute to the state were Charles was born and is known as his signature piece.