Ray Charles (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004).
Ray Charles Robinson Sr. was an American singer, songwriter and pianist. He is regarded as one of the most iconic and influential singers in history, and was often referred to by contemporaries as "The Genius". Among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray". Charles was blinded during childhood, possibly due to glaucoma.
Charles pioneered the soul music genre during the 1950s by combining blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records. He contributed to the integration of country music, rhythm and blues, and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, notably with his two Modern Sounds albums. While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first black musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company.
Charles's 1960 hit "Georgia on My Mind" was the first of his three career No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. His 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music became his first album to top the Billboard 200. Charles had multiple singles reach the Top 40 on various Billboard charts: 44 on the US R&B singles chart, 11 on the Hot 100 singles chart, 2 on the Hot Country singles charts.
Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by Louis Jordan and Charles Brown. He had a lifelong friendship and occasional partnership with Quincy Jones. Frank Sinatra called Ray Charles "the only true genius in show business," although Charles downplayed this notion. Billy Joel said, "This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley".
For his musical contributions, Charles received the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, and the Polar Music Prize. He was one of the inaugural inductees at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He has won 18 Grammy Awards (5 posthumously), the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, and 10 of his recordings have been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked Charles No. 10 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and No. 2 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. In 2022, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame.
Julio Iglesias, 80.
Julio Jose Iglesias de la Cuevais a Spanish singer, songwriter and former professional footballer. Iglesias is recognized as the most commercially successful Spanish singer in the world and one of the top record sellers in music history, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide in 14 languages.It is estimated that during his career he has performed in more than 5,000 concerts, for over 60 million people in five continents. In April 2013, Iglesias was inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In 1983, Iglesias was celebrated as having recorded songs in the most languages in the world, and in 2013 for being the best-selling male Latin artist of all-time. In April 2013 in Beijing, he was honoured as the most popular international artist in China. In Brazil, France, Italy and elsewhere, Iglesias is the most successful foreign record seller, while in his home country, Spain, he has sold the most records in history, with 23 million records.
During his career, Iglesias has won many awards in the music industry, including the Grammy, Latin Grammy, World Music Award, Billboard Music Award, American Music Award and Lo Nuestro Award. He has been awarded the Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts of Spain and the Legion of Honour of France. UNICEF named him Special Ambassador for the Performing Arts in 1989. He has had a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame since 1985.
Bruce Springsteen, 74.
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen is an American rock singer, songwriter and guitarist. Nicknamed "The Boss", he has released 21 studio albums during a career spanning six decades, most of which feature his backing band, the E Street Band. Springsteen is an originator of heartland rock, a genre combining mainstream rock music with poetic and socially conscious lyrics that tell a narrative about working-class American life. He is known for his descriptive lyrics and energetic concerts, with performances that can last for more than four hours.
Springsteen released his first two albums, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, in 1973; neither earned him a large audience. He then changed his style and achieved worldwide popularity with Born to Run (1975). This was followed by Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978) and The River (1980), which topped the Billboard 200 chart. After the solo album Nebraska (1982), he reunited with his E Street Band for Born in the U.S.A. (1984), which became his most commercially successful album and one of the best-selling albums of all time. All seven of its singles reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, including the title track. Springsteen mostly hired session musicians for the recording of his next three albums, Tunnel of Love (1987), Human Touch (1992), and Lucky Town (1992). He reassembled the E Street Band for Greatest Hits (1995), then recorded the acoustic album The Ghost of Tom Joad (1995) and the EP Blood Brothers (1996).
Seven years after releasing The Ghost of Tom Joad—the longest gap between any of his studio albums—Springsteen released The Rising (2002), which he dedicated to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. He released two more folk albums, Devils & Dust (2005) and We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (2006), followed by two more albums with the E Street Band: Magic (2007) and Working on a Dream (2009). The next two albums, Wrecking Ball (2012) and High Hopes (2014), topped album charts worldwide. From 2017 to 2018, and again in 2021, Springsteen performed the critically acclaimed one-man show Springsteen on Broadway which saw him perform some of his songs and tell stories from his 2016 autobiography; the album version was released in 2018. He then released the solo album Western Stars (2019), the album Letter to You (2020) with the E Street Band, and a solo cover album Only the Strong Survive (2022). Letter to You reached number two in the U.S. and made Springsteen the first artist to score a Top 5 album across six consecutive decades.
Listed among the album era's most prominent acts, Springsteen has sold more than 71 million albums in the U.S. and over 140 million worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has earned numerous awards, including 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award, and a Special Tony Award. He was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999, received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2009, named MusiCares person of the year in 2013, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2016, and awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Joe Biden in 2023. He ranked 23rd on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, which described him as being "the embodiment of rock & roll".
Ani DiFranco, 53.
Angela Maria "Ani" DiFranco is an American-Canadian singer-songwriter. She has released more than 20 albums. DiFranco's music has been classified as folk rock and alternative rock, although it has additional influences from punk, funk, hip hop and jazz. She has released all her albums on her own record label, Righteous Babe.
DiFranco supports many social and political movements by performing benefit concerts, appearing on benefit albums and speaking at rallies. Through the Righteous Babe Foundation, DiFranco has backed grassroots cultural and political organizations supporting causes including abortion rights and LGBT visibility. She counts American folk singer and songwriter Pete Seeger among her mentors.
DiFranco released a memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream, on May 7, 2019, via Viking Books and made The New York Times Best Seller list.
On this day today:
1956 - Micky Dolenz of The Monkees begins his television career as a child actor with the premiere of NBC's Circus Boy series.
1957 - "Honeycomb" by Jimmie Rodgers (the pop singer, not the country singer born in 1897) hits #1 for the first of four weeks. It's one of the few non-Elvis chart-toppers on 1957.
1957 - Buddy Holly's group The Crickets hits #1 in America with "That'll Be The Day." The title comes from something John Wayne says in the movie The Searchers.
1966 - The Rolling Stones launch a tour of Britain at Royal Albert Hall in London, with the upstart act Ike & Tina Turner, who have a big UK hit with "River Deep - Mountain High," opening.
1967 - "The Letter" by The Box Tops goes to #1 in America. The Arbors take the song to #20 in 1969 and Joe Cocker's version hits #7 in 1970.
1967 - The Doors release "People Are Strange."
1968 - The Beatles begin recording "Happiness Is A Warm Gun." The title comes from a headline in American Rifleman magazine.
1972 - "Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me" by Mac Davis hits #1 in America. It holds the top spot for three weeks.
1974 - John Lennon records "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" at the Record Plant in New York City.
1975 - For the first time, Bruce Springsteen plays a medley of Little Richard songs in the style of Mitch Ryder to close out a show. This would become known as the "Detroit Medley" and become a regular part of his show for about 10 years.
1977 - Steely Dan release their sixth album, Aja. Pronounced "Asia," it's a collection of meticulous and mysterious songs like "Black Cow" and "Deacon Blues."
1979 - The crowd chants, "Hell No, We Won't Glow" at a massive 5-hour anti-nuke rally in New York City's Battery Park, where Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt are among the performers.
1982 - Brenda Lee is inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame.
1983 - Ten years after their bitter breakup, The Everly Brothers reunite for a concert at Royal Albert Hall in London that is released as the double album Reunion Concert.
1986 - Following a split with their record label and some lineup changes, Boston release Third Stage, their first album since Don't Look Back in 1978. The first single is "Amanda," the group's only #1 hit in America. They don't put out another album until 1994.
1996 - Agnetha Faltskog, one of ABBA's two female leads, publishes her biography, As I Am.
1997 - The Rolling Stones release Bridges To Babylon.
1997 - The Rolling Stones' Bridges to Babylon Tour opens in Chicago. Opening acts for the North American tour include Sheryl Crow, The Dave Matthews Band, The Smashing Pumpkins, Jamiroquai, Blues Traveler and Foo Fighters.
1998 - Elvis Presley, once rejected by the Grand Old Opry, is posthumously inducted into Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame.
1998 - The first ever Lilith Fair concert outside North America takes place at London's Royal Albert Hall. Before the sold-out show, Lilith founder Sarah McLahlan tells a press conference that plans are underway to bring the Fair to Europe as a touring package the following year.
2000 - Tim McGraw is featured on the cover of TV Guide, due to his various nominations for the 34th Annual CMA Awards.
2003 - OutKast's double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is released. It's really two solo albums, with Andre 3000 doing The Love Below and Big Boi doing Speakerboxxx.
2007 - Lionel Richie appears on The Simpsons in the episode "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs."
2008 - Tom Delonge of blink-182 joins Rivers Cuomo on stage to sing "Undone - The Sweater Song" as Weezer open their Troublemaker tour in Lowell, Massachusetts.
2008 - Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction is certified for sales of 18 million by the RIAA, overtaking Boston's self-titled album (at 17 million) to become the all-time best-selling debut album in America. Ten years later, Hootie & the Blowfish earn the title when their album Cracked Rear View is certified at 21 million.
2010 - Katy Perry's appearance on Sesame Street is edited out after viewers complain about her revealing dress.
2011 - Following a Demi Lovato concert at the Nokia Theater, Justin Bieber takes his girlfriend Selena Gomez to The Staples Center, which he has rented out so they can enjoy a private showing of Titanic in the 20,000 seat theater.
2019 - Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter dies at 78.