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Ray Charles

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.

Birth and Death Data: Born September 13th, 1918 (Chicago), Died April 6th, 2015 (Beverly Hills)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1940 - 1955

Roles Represented in DAHR: lyricist, vocalist, leader


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  
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  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Charles, Ray," accessed October 24, 2021,

Charles, Ray. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 24, 2021, from

"Charles, Ray." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 24 October 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier



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