Ray Charles Robinson Sr. (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was an American singer, songwriter and pianist. He is regarded as one of the most iconic and influential singers in history, and was often referred to by contemporaries as "The Genius". Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray". Charles was blinded during childhood, possibly due to glaucoma.Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records. He contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues, and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, notably with his two Modern Sounds albums. While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.Charle
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