76. Ray Charles: The Man and His Music

Ray Charles was one of the most inspirational, successful singers in the history of music in United States. Charles combined several musical influences to his own, unique style that served him well his career. His influences included genres such as , blues, jazz, pop, Rock ‘n' Roll, and country . Although he was born sighted, he developed a case of glaucoma at the age of five, was completely blind by the age of seven, that did not hold him back.

Born on 23, 1930 in Albany, Georgia, Charles and his moved to Greenville, Florida when he was just infant. His mother was a devout Christian, and was expected to attend bible study, and church . His musical interests were sparked by the owner a small cafe near his home, who played piano for his customers. Charles was fascinated by cafe owner's talent, and wanted to learn to .

When Charles was five, he developed problems with sight. It is uncertain what caused him to losing his sight, and it went undiagnosed, and . By the age of seven, he was completely . This led to his enrollment into a special for the blind in St. Augustine, Florida. It at this school that Charles learned to make .

Charles' career spanned nearly 60 years, and he considered by many musicians, producers, fans, and other as a pioneering legend in jazz. His hit include Hit the Road Jack, Georgia on My , I've Got a Woman, and I Can't Stop You. Charles branched out in the entertainment industry acting in several films, including the very popular Brothers. Charles struggled with addiction for most of life, and died in 2004. He was married , and had 12 children.