Ray Charles, the Grammy-winning crooner who blended gospel and blues in such crowd-pleasers as "What'd I Say" and ballads like "Georgia on My Mind," died Thursday at his Beverly Hills home surrounded by family and friends, a spokesman said. He was 73.
Blind by age 7 and an orphan at 15, Charles spent his life shattering any notion of musical boundaries and defying easy definition. A gifted pianist and saxophonist, he dabbled in country, jazz, big band and blues, and put his stamp on it all with a deep, warm voice roughened by heartbreak from a hardscrabble childhood in the segregated South. Elvis recorded his compositions "I Got A Woman" and "What 'd I Say". You can hear Elvis sing a fragment of "Crying Time" in "That's the Way It Is".
Source: Reuters / Updated: Jun 10, 2004