Ray Charles (born Charles Raymond Offenberg; September 13, 1918 – April 6, 2015) was an American musician, singer, songwriter, vocal arranger and conductor who was best known as organizer and leader of the Ray Charles Singers who were featured on Perry Como's records and television shows for 35 years and were also known for a series of 30 choral record albums produced in the 1950s and 1960s for the Essex, MGM, Decca and Command labels.
As a vocalist, Charles, along with Julia Rinker Miller, sang the theme song to the television series Three's Company ("Come and Knock on Our Door"). As a songwriter, Charles was best known for the choral anthem "Fifty Nifty United States" in which he set the names of the states to music in alphabetical order. It was originally written for The Perry Como Show. He is also known for "Letters, We Get Letters", also originally written for Como's show and later used on the Late Show with David Letterman.
In his later years, he continued to serve as a musical consultant to television programs, most notably for 31 years on the Kennedy Center Honors. Charles was acknowledged as an authority on American popular music.
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Birth and Death Data: Born September 13, 1918 (Chicago), Died April 6, 2015 (Beverly Hills)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1940 - 1955
Roles Represented in DAHR: lyricist, conductor, vocalist, leader
= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.
|Company||Matrix No.||Size||First Recording Date||Title||Primary Performer||Description||Role||Audio|
|Victor||BS-051278||10-in.||6/13/1940||Funny Little Pedro||Tommy Dorsey ; The Pied Pipers ; Sentimentalists||Jazz/dance band, with mixed vocal ensemble||lyricist|
|Victor||BS-056414||10-in.||9/30/1940||South||Two Guitars and a Bass||Male vocal trio, with 2 guitars and string bass||lyricist|
|Victor||BS-059236||10-in.||2/14/1941||You're the moment of a lifetime||Harvey Crawford ; Art Kassel ; Kassels-in-the-Air Orchestra||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist|
|Victor||BS-060463||10-in.||2/3/1941||You're the moment of a lifetime||Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye ; Arthur Wright||Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo||lyricist|
|Victor||D6VB-3283||10-in.||11/20/1946||Frenesi||Mullen Sisters ; Tony Mottola Orchestra||Female vocal trio, with jazz/dance octet||lyricist|
|Decca||76845||9/14/1950||Jingle bells||Artie Shaw Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||84143||3/10/1953||Glad rag doll||Johnny Long Orchestra||vocalist|
|Decca||87870||5/3/1955||Be sure you're right||Burl Ives||leader|
|Decca||87871||5/3/1955||Old Betsy||Burl Ives||leader|
|Columbia (U.K.)||CL8003||10-in.||5/7/1945||Frénésie||Gaston Lapeyronnie ; Jacques Pills||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
|Columbia (U.K.)||CL8016||10-in.||5/31/1945||Frénésie||Jean Marion ; Jacques Pills||Male vocal solo, with orchestra||lyricist|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Charles, Ray," accessed May 28, 2023, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109189.
Charles, Ray. (2023). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 28, 2023, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/109189.
"Charles, Ray." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2023. Web. 28 May 2023.
DAHR Persistent Identifier
Wikipedia: Ray Charles (musician, born 1918)
Discogs: Ray Charles
Linked Open Data Sources
LCNAR: Charles, Ray, 1918-2015 - http://id.loc.gov/authorities/names/no91026368
Wikidata: Ray Charles (musician, born 1918) - http://www.wikidata.org/entity/Q7297319
MusicBrainz: Ray Charles - https://musicbrainz.org/artist/8518b7af-5e33-498a-90c9-9fd772f4c422
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