Home HistoryAtlanta History Albany Native Ray Charles Turns 87

Albany Native Ray Charles Turns 87

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Ray Charles performing for the Georgia General Assembly

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.

Preston Thompson, SPR Atlanta

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