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RIP Ray Charles
June 10, 2004 12:46 PM   Subscribe

Ray Charles is Dead Very sad to hear. My favorite was always "Georgia on My Mind". What was yours? Any personal memories you associate with his music?
posted by jmevius (69 comments total)

 
I didn't see this coming.
posted by bshort at 12:52 PM on June 10, 2004


Aww man, me neither. He made just about everything he sang special.
posted by MetalDog at 12:56 PM on June 10, 2004


Best I ever heard was his sweet, soulful rendition of Kermit the Frog's "It's Not Easy Being Green." Heard it played on WCLK here in Atlanta once, a live version, and haven't been able to find a recording anywhere. It may sound silly, but it was really beautiful.

RIP Ray.
posted by andycoan at 12:57 PM on June 10, 2004


Let me be the first of several hundred to say: Now there's somebody who deserves a State Funeral.
posted by wendell at 12:59 PM on June 10, 2004


Frank Sinatra once called Ray Charles, "the only genius in the business."

"What'd I Say," and his version "Night Time is The Right Time," are two of the towering monuments of soul music.

RIP, Brother Ray.
posted by jonmc at 12:59 PM on June 10, 2004


Sad day. He was an inspiration.
posted by cowboy at 1:01 PM on June 10, 2004


MetaFilter comes through for me again. I don't know how I would otherwise hear about these obscure events. Thank you, MetaFilter!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 1:01 PM on June 10, 2004


The National Enquirer was on to it weeks ago. Anyone coming in to the Ray Charles story late might wonder what all the fuss as about. But all you have to do is go back to the original Atlantic sides, and you will hear the pure, raw simple excitement that made Charles the revered figure he is today. (He did a few good songs for Mercury, then came "Modern Sounds in Country and Western," and it was all downhill from there.) As a composer: "This Little Girl of Mine," "Leave My Woman Alone," "I Got a Woman," "This Little Girl of Mine." They were great when the Everly Brother did them. They were great when Ray did them. My favorite of all time: "I Believe to My Soul." ("...Last night you were dreamin' and I heard you say... [a Raelette whispers: "Oh Johnny]... Well you know my name is Ray... That's why I believe...) Did I once read that the "women's" parts on that song are just Ray singing in falsetto, double-tracked?
posted by Faze at 1:02 PM on June 10, 2004


His version of "That Lucky Old Sun" is one of the saddest, most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard.

Sad news, but it can't be denied that he lived a full life. Godspeed, Brother Ray. When I get home from work, I'll throw on "Ingredients in a Recipie For Soul" and tip a beer to his memory.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:02 PM on June 10, 2004


"You've got the right one, baby, Uh-huh!"
posted by esch at 1:03 PM on June 10, 2004


Let me be the first of several hundred to say: Now there's somebody who deserves a State Funeral.

Amen to that.

Hit the road, Ray. . .

.
posted by ashbury at 1:04 PM on June 10, 2004


Thank you, MetaFilter!

Ethereal Bligh, here's a concept: Shut The Fuck Up.
posted by y2karl at 1:06 PM on June 10, 2004


.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:06 PM on June 10, 2004


"You've got the right one, baby, Uh-huh!"

I thought about that too.

Don't forget his performance in The Blues Brothers, as the owner of Ray's Music.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:07 PM on June 10, 2004


Sad day. He'll be missed. Heck, he could make even something as nasty as Pepsi appealling.
posted by fenriq at 1:07 PM on June 10, 2004


I didn't see this coming.

heh.
posted by h00dini at 1:10 PM on June 10, 2004


A real star. I think of my dad telling me about seeing Ray at the Finsbury Park Rainbow in the early sixties, "I'd never seen or heard anything like him - I was terrified".

He told stories of his friends taking him out bike riding as a kid, shouting left or right.

I've been banging out his version of 'Wichita Lineman' for the last few weeks - it's BIG
posted by niceness at 1:10 PM on June 10, 2004


On topic: this is sad news.


PS. Thank you, MetaFilter!

Does it ever occur to you not to comment, EB? I mean, you just don't know when to quit. You are far more annoying than any double or obituary post

posted by y2karl at 1:11 PM on June 10, 2004


No one could so easily span the gamut of truly American music the way he did.

Godspeed, Brother Ray, indeed.
posted by tommasz at 1:15 PM on June 10, 2004


y2karl's angry!!!
posted by xmutex at 1:16 PM on June 10, 2004


Sad news. The guy was an original.

Does anybody know what the cause of death was? I didn't even know he was sick.
posted by konolia at 1:17 PM on June 10, 2004


cool! i'm going to watch it on PBS! will he be lying in state too?
posted by quonsar at 1:18 PM on June 10, 2004


Oooh. Ray Charles was a Kennedy Center honoree in 1986, when Reagan was president. I wonder if we'll be seeing clips of them together.
posted by Tin Man at 1:19 PM on June 10, 2004


I used to call a local college station on Halloween to request
"Blame It On The Devil (And The Moon)".

The song seems so much sadder now, though wendell's idea
got me smiling again.

On Preview: konolia, it was complications from liver disease.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:20 PM on June 10, 2004


Rest in peace, Ray. Thanks for the music.
posted by Loudmax at 1:20 PM on June 10, 2004


.
posted by durbanpoison at 1:22 PM on June 10, 2004


The really sad thing is that a whole generation of casual music fans will always think of him as the Diet Pepsi "Uh huh!" guy...
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:26 PM on June 10, 2004


this is sad...he was wonderful, and i'm with andycoan on "It's not easy being green" (andy, you can download it-it's around)

Ray Charles i'd give a state funeral to.
posted by amberglow at 1:33 PM on June 10, 2004


Now there's someone who deserves.. oh wait.

Ray Charles rocked. No other way to put it. A great guy, a great loss.

As with many outstanding singers, he's mostly remembered for his ballads, which is unfair. He was a brilliant uptempo jazz musician.

And here's to a big pile of steaming poop landing on the producers of ABC News, who tried to tie Ray's death in with the whole Reagan business by playing a clip of "America the Beautiful" with the Capitol in the background.
posted by PrinceValium at 5:37 PM on June 10, 2004


You know, Ray was okay and all, but I hope to hell everyone doesn't talk about him non-stop for the next week.
posted by moonbiter at 5:43 PM on June 10, 2004


Oh shit, not Ray! Damn. Ethereal: What the fuck is your problem?
posted by AstroGuy at 5:44 PM on June 10, 2004


.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:46 PM on June 10, 2004


Tell you ma. Tell your pa.
posted by yerfatma at 5:53 PM on June 10, 2004


I had a Well, DUH!!!  moment: a well loved and respected public figure died unexpectedly and people made note of it. It's a community website, for Christ's sake--go figure. I'm sorry I lost it. Let's stop picking on EB now, enough words have been wasted thereupon already.
posted by y2karl at 5:54 PM on June 10, 2004


Is it really true that he became blind from looking at the sun too long? I always thought that had kind of an Icarus overtone to it. In a neat way.
posted by scarabic at 5:55 PM on June 10, 2004


I distinctly remember his performance in the Blues Brothers movie (that way I learned he existed). Oh and don't forget Aretha, fantastic as well. R.I.P dude.

y2karl: hey dude, don't jump on the derailing train :)
posted by elpapacito at 5:55 PM on June 10, 2004


Well, that HTML sucked now, didn't it?
posted by y2karl at 5:56 PM on June 10, 2004


Is it really true that he became blind from looking at the sun too long?

Complications from glaucoma at age six. He had learned piano at age three. So NPR saith.

My first memory of him is when Ruby was on the radio.

They say, Ruby,
You're like a dream...


It was like a dream itself, syrupy strings and all.
posted by y2karl at 5:58 PM on June 10, 2004


ABC News, who tried to tie Ray's death in with the whole Reagan business by playing a clip of "America the Beautiful" with the Capitol in the background

I seem to recall that Ray Charles once performed this song for President Reagan at the 1984 Republican National Convention, and that Reagan had very fond memories of it. So perhaps it is fitting to play the song that Reagan loved, by the artist that Reagan thought rendered it so beautifully, on the day that the artist passed.

ALSO: Charles played "America" for Ronald and Nancy Reagan in 1985 at an inauguration ball, and was one of the legends receiving Kennedy Center Honors in 1986.


Damn, people, just lighten up. It's not ALL some sort of godammed Republican conspiracy.
posted by davidmsc at 6:07 PM on June 10, 2004


He did a great Eleanor Rigby, too.
posted by mblandi at 6:08 PM on June 10, 2004


I saw Ray Charles at Chastain Park (Atlanta, GA) at age 13. (My idea of good music at age 13? Beatles, The Who, Moody Blues, King Crimson, Jefferson Airplane. Jethro Tull.) I was starting to be involved with the public school music program jazz ensemble...still I was concerned that Mom was dragging us to some corny old big band concert. Ray Charles really opened my ears that night, to worlds of jazz, soul, r&b music behind the Cream and Zepplin riffs from garage band "rehearsal".
posted by crunchburger at 6:18 PM on June 10, 2004


"It's not ALL some sort of godammed Republican conspiracy."

Uh-huh. Sure. That's exactly what someone trying to cover up a Republican conspiracy would say.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:20 PM on June 10, 2004


Not a Republican conspiracy, but definitely a Reagan hagiography that's overstayed its welcome.

It sucks to die in the shadow of a more famous death. Just ask C.S. Lewis and Aldous Huxley.
posted by PrinceValium at 6:33 PM on June 10, 2004


I had the good fortune of seeing him at the Hollywood Bowl a couple of years ago. He couldn't quite hit the high notes as well as he used to, but his energy still lit up the enormous venue.

My dad shared a quote about Ray that I always found amusing: "If you wanted to be a Raylette, you had to let Ray..." Here's to you Ray, thanks for the great tunes that always make my feet move and my head bop.
posted by jonah at 6:35 PM on June 10, 2004


You know, I hate America and all, but his version of America the Beautiful never fails to stir me up. I understand anyone wanting it played at their funeral.

The man was a musical genius, and I'm glad he was able to do his thing for as long as he did.

I hear he was a crotchety and contrary old bastard for a long time. Somehow, that only makes me like him more.

Bye, Ray.
posted by chicobangs at 6:46 PM on June 10, 2004


don't Dead Pools come in threes? who's next?
posted by NationalKato at 7:00 PM on June 10, 2004


Dead pool entrants come in ones, not threes, but my money is on it not being this guy.
posted by chicobangs at 7:05 PM on June 10, 2004


At least he went out on top- that Powerball jingle is one of the most soulful pieces I've heard recently...

Everybody now: "It's America's game, the one and only Powerball!"
posted by titanshiny at 7:23 PM on June 10, 2004


"Christopher Columbus going to find Ray Charles!"

:-D
posted by jaronson at 7:25 PM on June 10, 2004


God bless the child who's got his own.
posted by SPrintF at 7:26 PM on June 10, 2004


hey, hey, what I say.
posted by xtian at 7:27 PM on June 10, 2004



don't Dead Pools come in threes? who's next?


Elvin Jones, Steve Lacy, Robert Quine, and Ray Charles have all died in the last THREE weeks. Wow!
posted by crunchburger at 7:54 PM on June 10, 2004


.
posted by mazola at 8:04 PM on June 10, 2004


unchain my heart...

.
posted by moonbird at 8:06 PM on June 10, 2004


I don't have any recordings by Ray Charles in my modest CD collection. Think I will have to remedy that.

Goodbye, Ray. You have been and will continue to be loved.
posted by orange swan at 8:26 PM on June 10, 2004


don't Dead Pools come in threes? who's next?

Elvin Jones, Steve Lacy, Robert Quine, and Ray Charles have all died in the last THREE weeks. Wow!


And don't let's forget Tony Randall. So, counting him and Reagan, that makes two groups of three.

I'm feeling mighty low about Ray's passing. There won't ever be another like him.
posted by MrBadExample at 8:31 PM on June 10, 2004


.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:32 PM on June 10, 2004


Ray played "America" at Democratic and Republican inaugurations, for the record. He was hired, I believe is the word for what happened.

Meanwhile, it's a tire here between his cover of "Careless Love" on the first country cover album, "Lonely Avenue" and "Tell the Truth," off an early live album and also on an Atlantic years best-of collection. It's this Latinized gospel thing, also of course secularized, some of the wildest and most glorious stuff I've ever heard in my life.

Bye bye, Ray.
Love,
Another Ray
posted by raysmj at 8:37 PM on June 10, 2004


Well, make that a tie.
posted by raysmj at 8:45 PM on June 10, 2004


Devil music.
posted by dong_resin at 8:50 PM on June 10, 2004


He did a few good songs for Mercury, then came "Modern Sounds in Country and Western," and it was all downhill from there.

Thank you for your opinion.
posted by pmurray63 at 9:13 PM on June 10, 2004


Nick Spitzer on American Routes has a couple of interviews with Ray Charles (2001, 2002). Spitzer is great and as always the interviews are interesting. Plus the music is delish.
posted by lobakgo at 9:31 PM on June 10, 2004


"Dreamed about Ray Charles last night and he could see just fine, you know
I asked him for a lullaby, he said 'Honey I don't sing no more
no more, no more, no more, Ray don't sing no more.'"
Joan Osborne, "Spider Web"

Beautiful man, beautiful musician. Rest in peace.
posted by precocious at 9:31 PM on June 10, 2004


.
posted by cookie-k at 12:00 AM on June 11, 2004


This happened later in the day after deleting Hit The Road Jack from iTunes.....

I really hope it's not a Twilight Zone thing like the old man and the Grandfather clock...
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:13 AM on June 11, 2004


The Rude Pundit wants Ray Charles on the fifty-dollar bill.
Fuck Ulysses S. Grant, that drunk old son of a bitch. Put Ray Charles on the fifty. The Rude Pundit wants a gigantic Ray Charles sculpted into the side of Stone Mountain, Georgia. Blow up that goddamn celebration of racism there; send Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jeff Davis tumbling into the piles of rock and dust of forgotteness. Instead, carve Ray Charles, at his piano, smiling, smiling, smiling.


posted by matteo at 9:53 AM on June 11, 2004


as i type this, CNN is using Ray's America to back up a montage of Reagan pics--ugh!
posted by amberglow at 3:59 PM on June 11, 2004


RIP, and all that....
posted by Windigo at 9:18 AM on June 12, 2004


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posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:54 AM on June 18, 2004


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