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Remembering Ray Charles

The great singer and pianist Ray Charles died Thursday, June 10, at the age of 73. He was about to go back on tour, but died of complications of liver disease. Charles shaped American music since the 1950s, at first copying the styles of black vocalists like Nat King Cole and Charles Brown. But he soon developed a style all his own. His career grew along with Atlantic records, which signed him as a fledgling label. Charles' first hit was "I've Got a Woman" in 1955. He went on to record more bluesy, gospel-charged hits, country, jazz and rock. He spoke after the release of his four CD box-set Ray Charles: The Complete Country and Western Recordings 1959-1986. (Rebroadcast from Oct. 19, 1998.)

Copyright 2004 Fresh Air

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