In celebration of what would have been his 91st birthday, Tangerine Records has released a new lyric video for Ray Charles’ timeless recording of “Till There Was You.” The song is included in the recently released limited-edition box set True Genius, which features 90 of the greatest songs from Charles’ legendary career. The highly anticipated set, which has been featured in Rolling Stone and American Songwriter, also includes a special bonus disc of eight previously unreleased tracks recorded live in Stockholm in 1972. True Genius is available now on all digital platforms, making dozens of Ray classics available at streaming services for the first time. Stream or purchase True Genius HERE.
Tonight at 7:00PM Eastern, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is proud to host a free virtual panel discussion on the life and career of Ray Charles. Panelists will discuss Tangerine Records, the label Charles founded in 1962, his mastery of multiple musical genres, and his enduring cultural legacy. The free virtual event will take place tonight on the Rock Hall’s YouTube channel.
Event panelists include John Burk, producer on Charles' seminal duets album Genius Loves Company as well as the “True Genius” box set. He is also a partner in Exceleration Music. Joining in the event is David Ritz, music historian & author of Charles' biography Brother Ray. The panel will be moderated by Jason Hanley, the Rock Hall's Vice President of Education and Visitor Engagement and Andy Leach, the Rock Hall's Senior Director of Museum & Archival Collections.
About the Panelists
John Burk: John Burk is multi-platinum and multiple GRAMMY award-winning producer as well as one of the founding partners of Concord Music. Under John’s creative direction, Concord diversified its artist roster and grew substantially from a highly respected boutique jazz label to become the largest independent music company in the world. Some of Burk’s notable artist signings include Ray Charles, James Taylor, Paul McCartney, George Benson, All Jarreau, Chick Corea, Keb’ Mo’, Billy Gibbons, Best Coast, Esperanza Spalding, Christian Scott, The Record Company, Southern Avenue, Nubya Garcia, Jazzmeia Horn, Santana, and many more.
One of his productions, Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company, won 8 GRAMMY Awards, including Album of The Year and Record of The Year.
David Ritz: David Ritz, co-composer of “Sexual Healing,” has collaborated on books with, among others, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Janet Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Rick James, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Etta James and Lenny Kravitz. He is currently working with Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne.
About True Genius
“We’re extremely proud to present this collection, which maps the breadth and depth of Ray Charles’ music, presented in chronological order so the listener can join Ray on his journey through the most expansive and creative period of his legendary career. I’m also thrilled that this music will be widely available on all streaming services for the very first time, so that new and future audiences will continue to discover the True Genius of Ray Charles.” - Valerie Ervin, President Ray Charles Foundation
The digital release of True Genius marks the first time this incredible collection of Ray Charles most important works will be widely available on streaming platforms, bringing classic hits such as “Hit The Road Jack,” “Crying Time,” “Busted,” “America The Beautiful,” “A Song for You,” “Unchain My Heart,” and many, many more back to streaming after more than a decade.
The box set also includes a beautifully designed coffee table style book with rare, unseen photos, and detailed liner notes by Ray Charles Foundation President Valerie Ervin, legendary writer and music journalist A. Scott Galloway, and featuring a special message from Quincy Jones.
Tangerine Records will also release True Genius: Sides of Ray on November 19th, a double disc vinyl collection that illustrates Charles’ many musical “sides” by focusing each album side on the genre categories he visited most: soul, jazz & blues, country, and pop, available for pre-order here.
On August 16th, The Country Music Hall of Fame announced that Ray Charles has been inducted as an official member. Charles, who revolutionized the country genre and brought it to new audiences with albums like 1962’s Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, was inducted in the "Veterans Era Artist" category.
Ray Charles’s recordings are major landmarks in American culture. By blending country and roots with other popular sounds, this visionary singer, songwriter, pianist and composer brought his expansive musical vision to a worldwide audience. Charles’ albums, released during the heart of the Civil Rights Movement, broke down both racial and genre barriers. The incredible crossover success of Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Volumes 1 & 2 led Willie Nelson to remark, “Ray Charles did more for country music than any other artist.” Ray continued to do something no other artist had done before or since, conquering all genres of music, from gospel and R&B to soul, country, jazz, blues, and pop, which led Frank Sinatra to dub Ray Charles, the only “True Genius” in music.
Ray further helped bring Americans together with his rendition of “America the Beautiful,” and he remains the only artist in history to create and define a national anthem. Charles was also one of the first recording artists to have ownership of his masters as well as complete creative freedom.
Charles’ staggering achievements over a 58-year career include 17 GRAMMY Awards, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement and the President’s Merit Award, the Presidential Medal for the Arts, France’s Legion of Honor, the Kennedy Center Honors, the NAACP Image Awards’ “Hall of Fame Award,” and numerous other music Halls of Fame, including those for Jazz and Rhythm & Blues, all testament to his enormous influence. In 2019, he was honored by the Grand Ole Opry with An Opry Salute to Ray Charles, which was broadcast across PBS stations.
One of the greatest artists of all time, Charles successfully mastered and forever changed the blues, jazz, gospel, rock, pop, and country music landscapes. He teamed up with the best of the best in each stylistic genre, including B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Hank Williams Jr, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, and countless others. As he described himself. “I’m not a country singer. I’m a singer who sings country songs. I’m not a blues singer, but I can sing the blues. I’m not really a crooner, but I can sing love songs. I’m not a specialist, but I’m a pretty good utility man. I can play first base, second base, shortstop. I can catch and maybe even pitch a little.”
Ray Charles was more than just the Genius of Soul; he was the Genius of Music.