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Ray Charles
     

Ray Charles

by Anne M. Todd
 
Pioneering musician Ray Charles was one of the first performers of soul music-a combination of gospel, jazz, country, and rhythm and blues. Born into poverty, Charles was 7 years old when he went blind and 13 when his mother died. He quit school and set out to tour the country, making music and a little bit of money wherever he could. As his talents gained recognition

Overview

Pioneering musician Ray Charles was one of the first performers of soul music-a combination of gospel, jazz, country, and rhythm and blues. Born into poverty, Charles was 7 years old when he went blind and 13 when his mother died. He quit school and set out to tour the country, making music and a little bit of money wherever he could. As his talents gained recognition, he signed a contract with a major record label and started to record hit songs. Charles soon became known in the music industry for his strong business acumen and remarkable talent for innovation in music. Over the course of his 58-year career, Charles overcame racism and drug addiction to play 10,000 concerts and win 12 Grammy Awards. He also became a source of inspiration for generations to come.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Anne E. Carroll
This biography of Ray Charles is part of the "Black Americans of Achievement" series, and it makes clear why Charles belongs in that group—its chapters featuring his musical innovations and the heights of his popularity give a sense of his enormous musical impact. The book also provides a great deal of information about Charles's life, starting with his birth to an impoverished single mother, the death of his beloved brother, and the blindness he developed at age seven. The book finishes with his death in 2004 and commentary about his legacy. Hubbard-Brown does not shy away from the difficult aspects of Charles's life, like his drug abuse, his occasional violence, his many extramarital affairs, and the racism he faced. But Charles's story is an inspiring one, particularly because the musician was so committed to overcoming those obstacles. This book is a good way to introduce middle and high school teachers to him. I found the book's first chapter a bit disorienting (it jumps into the middle of Charles's career with too little context), some of the discussions of music a bit too formal, and fewer photographs than I would have liked. But Hubbard-Brown's inclusion of quotes from Charles and those who knew or wrote about him, and her sidebars about relevant topics like the Charles's version of "America the Beautiful," are strong points. Reviewer: Anne E. Carroll

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604130010
Publisher:
Chelsea House Publishers
Publication date:
06/01/2008
Series:
Chelsea House Black Americans of Achievement Series
Pages:
120
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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