Ray Charles Greatest Hits

 
Color Photo of Ray Charles

Color Photo of Ray Charles

Ray Charles Overview

The Ray Charles Greatest Hits is a review of his achievements and career in music. He was born Ray Charles Robinson on September 23, 1930, in Albany, Georgia he died on June 10, 2004. He was known as Ray Charles during his singing and recording career. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 50’s, and helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 60’s. This is his story…

Early Life

Ray Charles Robinson was the son of Aretha (Williams) Robinson, a sharecropper, and Bailey Robinson, a railroad repair man, mechanic and handyman. Aretha was a devout Christian and the family attended the New Shiloh Baptist Church. When Ray was an infant his family moved to Greenville, Florida. In his early years, Charles showed a curiosity for mechanical things and he often watched the neighborhood men working on their cars and farm machinery. His musical curiosity was sparked at Mr. Wiley Pit’s Red Wing Cafe when Pit played boogie woogie on an old upright piano. Charles started to lose his sight at the age of five and went completely blind by the age of seven, apparently due to glaucoma.

Singing Career

He attended school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine from 1937 to 1945, where he developed his musical talent. Charles left school after his mother died in 1946, when he was 15 years old. He moved to Jacksonville with a couple who were friends of his mother. For over a year, he played the piano for bands at the Ritz Theatre in La Villa, earning $4 a night. Then he moved to Orlando, and later Tampa, where he played with a southern band called “The Florida Playboys”. This is where he began his habit of always wearing sunglasses, made by designer Billy Stickles.

Ray Charles Greatest Hits Album Cover

Ray Charles Greatest Hits Album Cover

He moved to Seattle in 1947 where he first met and befriended, under the tutelage of Robert Blackwell, a 14-year-old Quincy Jones and soon started recording, first for the Down Beat label as the “Maxin Trio” with guitarist G.D. McKee and bassist Milton Garrett, achieving his first hit with “Confession Blues” in 1949. The song soared to No.2 on the R&B charts.

Charles reached the pinnacle of his success at Atlantic with the release of “What’d I Say”, a complex song that combined gospel, jazz, blues and Latin music and a song that Charles would later say he composed spontaneously as he was performing in clubs and dances with his small band in 1959, and reached #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and was his first top ten hit single.

45 RPM Single Ray Charles I Can't Stop Loving You

45 RPM Single Ray Charles I Can’t Stop Loving You

He joined Swing Time Records using his own name Ray Charles to avoid being confused with the boxer Sugar Ray Robinson and recorded two more R&B hits, “Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand” #5 in 1951 and “Kissa Me Baby” #8 in 1952. The following year, Swing Time folded and Ahmet Ertegun signed him to Atlantic Records. Ray Charles signed with ABC-Paramount Records in November 1959, and achieved success with his next single “Georgia On My Mind” in 1960. This song went to #1 for one week. He followed this with his next big hit in 1961, “Hit The Road Jack” which went to #1 for 2 weeks. Ray Charles followed with his all-time best single in 1962 “I Can’t Stop Loving You” which was number one for 5 weeks and was Billboards record of the year. This was also his last #1 hit on the Hot 100 Pop chart.

Ray Charles first recorded single on the Hot 100 chart was “Swanee River Rock” #34 in 1957. His last top ten hit song was “Crying Time” #6 in 1965. His last top 40 hit was “Booty Butt” #36 in 1971. His last top 40 hit with another artist was “I’ll Be Good To You” #18 in 1989 with Quincy Jones. This was his last charted single on the Hot 100 chart.

Musical Career

All told Ray Charles had 3 #1’s, 11 top 10, 17 top 20, and 33 top 40 hits on the Hot 100 chart. He also had 9 top ten albums. He also had four #1 songs on the Adult Contemporary charts. Billboard ranked Ray Charles as the #3 artist from 1960-1969 and #18 artist of all-time from 1955-2010.

On the R&B chart, Ray Charles has 11 #1’s, 45 top 10, 67 top 20, and 79 top 40 hits. He is ranked as the #10 artist from 1950-1959, the #2 artist from 1960-1969, and the #6 artist of all-time from 1942-2010.

On the Adult Contemporary chart, Ray Charles had 4 #1’s, 12 Top 10, 19 Top 20, and 29 Top 40 hits. He is ranked as the #48 artist of all-time from 1961-2001.

He received the Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1987 and was voted into the R&R Hall of Fame in 1986.

Ray Charles #1 and Top Ten Singles

Below are all the number one and top ten songs on the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, and R&B charts. The number one songs will be in bold and the weeks at the #1, #2 & #3 positions will be in ().

Ray Charles The Very Best Hits Album CoverHot 100

  1. What’d I Say (Parts 1 & II) – July 6, 1959 #5
  2. Georgia On My Mind – November 14, 1960 (1)
  3. One Mint Julep [I] – March 6, 1961 #8
  4. Hit The Road Jack – October 9, 1961 (2)
  5. Unchain My Heart – November 27, 1961 #9
  6. I Can’t Stop Loving You – June 2, 1962 (5)
  7. You Don’t Know Me – July 28, 1962 #2 (1)
  8. You Are My Sunshine – November 17, 1961 #7
  9. Take These Chains From My Heart – April 13, 1963 #8
  10. Busted – September 7, 1963 #4
  11. Crying Time – December 11, 1965 #6

Adult Contemporary

  1. I Can’t Stop Loving You – June 9, 1962 (5)
  2. You Don’t Know Me – August 25, 1962 (3)
  3. Your Cheating Heart – December 8, 1962 #7
  4. Take These Chains From My Heart – May 11, 1963 #3 (1)
  5. No One – July 6, 1963 #6
  6. That Lucky Old Sun – December 14, 1963 #10
  7. No One To Cry To – July 25, 1964#8
  8. A Tear Fell – August 1, 1964 #6
  9. Crying Time – February 12, 1966 (3)
  10. Together Again – April 30, 1966 (3)
  11. Baby Grand – March 21, 1987 #3 (1)
  12. A Song For You – April 3, 1993 #9

Note: Ray Charles had a number one song with the Ray Charles Singers “Love Me With All Your Heart” #1 for 4 weeks in 1964. This is not included in his individual career statistics as this is a group.

R&B Chart

  1. Confession Blues – April 9, 1949 #2 (1)
  2. Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand – February 10, 1951 #5
  3. Kiss-A Me Baby – March 22, 1952 #8
  4. It Should’ve Been Me – April 3, 1954 #5
  5. Don’t You Know – August 21, 1954 #10
  6. I’ve Got A Woman – May 7, 1955 (1)
  7. Come Back – January 15, 1955 #4
  8. A Fool For You – August 5, 1955 (1)
  9. This Little Girl Of Mine – July 9, 1955 #9
  10. Greenbacks – October 29, 1955 #5
  11. Blackjack – October 29, 1955 #8
  12. Drown In My Own Tears – March 24, 1956 (2)
  13. Hallelujah I Love Her So – June 16, 1956 #5
  14. Lonely Avenue – October 20, 1956 #6
  15. Ain’t That Love – February 16, 1957 #9
  16. (Night Time Is) The Right Time – January 5, 1959 #5
  17. What’d I Say (Parts 1 & II) – August 3, 1959 (1)
  18. Sticks And Stones – June 27, 1960 #2 (1)
  19. Georgia On My Mind – September 26, 1960 #3 (4)
  20. Ruby – December 12, 1960 #10
  21. Them That Got – February 6, 1961 #10
  22. One Mint Julep (I) – April 17, 1961 (1)
  23. I’ve Got News For You – June 26, 1961 #8
  24. Hit The Road Jack – October 2, 1961 (5)
  25. But On The Other Hand Baby – December 18, 1961 #10
  26. Unchain My Heart – January 6, 1962 (2)
  27. At The Club – April 14, 1962 #7
  28. Hide Your Hair – April 14, 1962 #7
  29. I Can’t Stop Loving You – May 26, 1962 (10)
  30. You Don’t Know Me – August 18, 1962 #5
  31. You Are My Sunshine – December 15, 1962 (3)
  32. Don’t Set Me Free – March 9, 1963 #9
  33. Take These Chains From My Heart – May 4, 1963 #7
  34. No One – July 6, 1963 #9
  35. Busted – September 28, 1963 #3 (2)
  36. That Lucky Old Sun – December 7, 1963 #5
  37. My Heart Cries For You – February 22, 1964 #9
  38. Baby, Don’t You Cry – February 22, 1964 #7
  39. Makin’ Whoopee – December 12, 1964 #10
  40. Crying Time – January 1, 1966 #5
  41. Together Again – April 16, 1966 #10
  42. Let’s Go Get Stoned – July 23, 1966 (1)
  43. Here We Go Again – June 10, 1967 #5
  44. Yesterday – November 18, 1967 #9
  45. I’ll Be Good To You – January 20, 1990 (2)

Go back to the top 100 songs of all time home page.

Now own some of these precious hits by Ray Charles with his Ultimate Hits Collection (2CD)Ultimate Hits Collection (2CD) which has all of his #1 songs.

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