The Vault: Why you should listen to Ray Charles

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Remember Space Jam? Remember Star Fox? Remember those treasures locked away in a dusty vault of nostalgia? Well we’re here to pull them out again, because let’s face it some of us college students are poor and can’t afford the new game or movie ticket.

Sam Shirk
Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Within the dark recesses of the vault behind the excellence that is Soul is the amazing singer with the best crossover ability, the singer that we all know without realizing we know. The singer that is known as Ray Charles!

Ray Charles was born in 1930 and when he was just 7 he went blind due to glaucoma. He found his musical talent while attending a school for the deaf and the blind. Like many other musicians in his shoes, Charles started by playing in bands before making a name for himself. Charles is a legendary musician who is often given the credit of pioneering soul music, because of this achievement he is affectionately dubbed the “Father of Soul.” Wondering why you should listen to Ray Charles, well read on!

Crossover Ability

One of the most unique things about Ray Charles was he had the ability to crossover different genres to make some notable hits. He mixed together genres such as jazz, gospel, R&B, pop and country. With this integration he created smash hits such as “Unchain My Heart,” “I Got A Woman,” and “Hit the Road Jack.” When a listener listens close enough to one of Charles’ songs, this mixture is heard very clearly in the way the lyrics are sang and the sound or type of the instruments used. This made his music appealing to many different people.

Piano Talent

One of the most amazing things about Charles was his piano ability. Charles started learning to play piano when he was very young. He was taught by the owner of an old cafe. Charles had seen and heard this man play a song titled “Boogie Woogie” one night and it had sparked his curiosity in the piano.

Charles’ piano talent can be heard all throughout his music and when he performed live he would be seated in front of a microphone at his piano. His songs vary but a majority of them are fast paced songs that someone can easily dance to. His piano makes any of his songs worthwhile to listen to because it was absolutely fantastic and he knew exactly what he was doing when he played.


One of the last reasons to listen to Ray Charles is definitely for his legacy. Charles is one of the many who really shaped music. The music we have today would be completely different if he had not had a helping hand in the creation of modern pop music. Joe Levy, a music editor for Rolling Stone, said:

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

“The hit records he made for Atlantic in the mid-50’s mapped out everything that would happen to rock ‘n’ roll and soul music in the years that followed.”

Not only did Charles help shape music today but he also played a huge role in inspiring many major artists. Some of those being Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison and Billie Joel. While Charles inspired many, he also wrote and recorded many inspirational songs that are perfect to listen to when someone is having a bad day.

To this day Charles was and still is one of the greatest musicians to have ever existed. He gave us an amazing gift when he decided to share his musical gift with us and it is a major legacy that should not be lost for generations to come.


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