Ray Charles

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Ray Charles

Ray Charles (1930-09-232004-06-10) was an American Soul musician, singer, songwriter, and composer; born Ray Charles Robinson.


  • I got a woman way over town,
    That's good to me, Oh yeah!
    • "I Got a Woman" (1955)
  • Tell your Mama
    Tell your Pa
    Gonna send you back to Arkansas
    • "What'd I Say" (1957)
  • Other arms reach out to me
    Other eyes smile tenderly
    Still in peaceful dreams I see
    The road leads back to you.
    Georgia, oh Georgia, no peace I find...
    Just an old sweet song
    Keeps Georgia on my mind.
  • Hit the road, Jack, and don't you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.
    • "Hit the Road, Jack" (1961)
  • The fact of the matter is, you don't give up what's natural. Anything I've fantasized about, I've done.
    • Los Angeles Times, 1989
  • I started to sing like myself — as opposed to imitating Nat Cole, which I had done for a while — when I started singing like Ray Charles, it had this spiritual and churchy, this religious or gospel sound. It had this holiness and preachy tone to it. It was very controversial. I got a lot of criticism for it.
    • San Jose Mercury News, 1994
  • Do it right or don't do it at all. 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 where I want it.
    • Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 1998


  • Affluence separates people. Poverty knits 'em together. You got some sugar and I don't; I borrow some of yours. Next month you might not have any flour; well, I'll give you some of mine.
  • I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me, like food or water.
  • Love is a special word, and I use it only when I mean it. You say the word too much and it becomes cheap.
  • Music has been around a long time, and there's going to be music long after Ray Charles is dead. I just want to leave my mark, leave something musically good behind.
  • Music is nothing separate from me. It is me... You'd have to remove the music surgically.
  • My music had roots which I'd dug up from my own childhood, musical roots buried in the darkest soil.
  • What is a soul? It's like electricity — we don't really know what it is, but it's a force that can light a room.
  • You better live every day like your last because one day you're going to be right.
  • All people look the same to me.

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