Ray Charles Memorial
Born in 1930, in Albany, in the middle of the Great Depression and racial segregation, Ray Charles did not have a happy childhood. His parents struggle to raise him. His father is absent most of the time. At the age of 4, glaucoma gradually took away his sight, which he lost completely at the age of 7. In the meantime, he helplessly watches his little brother drown in a tub of water intended for the laundry. Placed in an institution, he began to play several instruments and developed a real talent for the piano. When his mother died at the age of 15, Ray Charles took to the sea and barely made a living from his music. He also discovers drugs.
His style developed and became more assertive, to the point that Atlantic Records noticed him and offered him a golden bridge. It was the beginning of his fame. What’d I Say, one of his first hits, is his breakthrough. In 1960, when he was no longer limited to the strictly jazz or blues audience, the musician recorded his own cover of Georgia on My Mind, which he transformed into a kind of statement about the segregation he had suffered. Now well established among the greats of the music world, he continues his journey as his biggest hit becomes a must-have.
In Albany, where he was born, a statue was erected in 2006, two years after his death, to honor his memory and salute his talent, music and commitment. For Ray Charles never forgot his origins. In 2001, he donated $1 million to Albany State University. Invited to speak at the graduation ceremony the following year, he donated another $2 million. This was used to finance the construction of the fine arts building. The establishment planned to name it after its greatest benefactor, but Ray Charles asked that it be named after his mother, Aretha Robinson, thus bringing full circle an extraordinary destiny that began in this Georgia town.
Ray Charles was 30 years old when he recorded Georgia on My Mind.
Ray Charles Memorial
A native of Albany, Georgia, Ray Charles is now an integral part of the city with a statue of himself.
Since 2006, the spectacular statue of the artist sitting at his piano has been located in the heart of Ray Charles Plaza. A work of the sculptor Andy Davis, in front of which visitors come to sit in order to not only admire the statue but also to hear the musician’s hits, played through speakers. A miniature version of the work, with inscriptions in Braille, is placed nearby.
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Cult! music: 100 mythical music places [French Edition]
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Head to Melbourne, Australia for a stroll along AC/DC Lane before crossing the iconic Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in the company of The Beatles. Visit Janis Joplin‘s home in San Francisco and find out how Johnny Cash ended up playing his greatest hits to a crowd of prisoners in San Quentin. Travel the winding roads of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and stop in Japan to catch up with Deep Purple, Phil Collins and Daft Punk. Drive down the Tina Turner Highway before entering some of the most legendary studios in music history. Go back to the troubled origins of Billie Holiday and make a pact with Robert Johnson at the famous crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists! Relive the Jimi Hendrix concert on the Isle of Wight before paying tribute to Bob Marley in Jamaica.
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By Gilles Rolland
Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.