One of Georgia’s most legendary performers would have turned 87 this Sunday, September 23. Despite being blinded at age five, Ray Charles revolutionized the music industry with a blend of jazz, gospel, and rhythm and blues.
Charles hit the number one spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 with “Georgia on My Mind.” After a performance for the Georgia General Assembly in 1979, it was designated Georgia’s official state song.
Before his death in 2004, Charles also performed at two presidential inaugurations: Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s. Ray Charles Square in Albany honors the music icon that called it home.