Ray Charles Robinson was born on 23 September 1930 in the city of Albany, Georgia into a working-class family, but became ne of the most famous and popular musicians of the 20th century, and had a massive influence on the world of music. Dubbed “the only true genius in show business” by another contemporary legend Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles was among the most iconic figures of the later 20th century, and in his impact on the music industry, Charles has been likened to the effect Elvis Presley himself had on the music world.
So just how rich was Ray Charles? Sources estimate that Ray had accrued a net worth reflecting his real worth, of $100 million at the time of his passing in 2004, accumulated during his music career spanning almost 60 years.
Ray Charles Net Worth $100 Million
Despite humble origins and nearly lifelong blindness, Ray Charles went on to find massive success, as amply demonstrated by the late soul music legend’s impressive net worth. He grew up in the then-struggling Florida town of Greenville. Charles’s childhood was not an easy one – the Robinson family struggled to make ends meet and to provide for their two children. Ray would lose his only brother when the future music industry superstar was only four, when George Robinson drowned. Just a year later, Ray Charles would begin to lose his sight, going completely blind by the time he was seven. However, the loss of sight did nothing to stop Charles from pursuing music with a passion. Moving to the city of St. Augustine to study in the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, Ray Charles took an active part in the school’s music scene, and he would soon go on to perform on a local St. Augustine radio, “WFOY”.
After the death of both his parents, Ray Charles ended up in a financially precarious situation for over a year, earning just $4 every night for playing the piano in a theatre, a very modest start to his net worth. However, this is where he would first find more widespread recognition, and soon the future legend could afford to move to Orlando to play with the southern group “The Florida Playboys”. There, Ray Charles would make his first three recordings. However, playing for other people did not feel enough – and so Charles moved to the farthest city in the US that he could find, Seattle, and began a career as an independent performer.
Over the following years, Ray Charles went on to become an enormously successful performer. During his years in Seattle, Charles met with a number of future stars, including the young Quincy Jones, and he would produce his first true hits there as well. Winning his first Grammy in 1960, Ray Charles would then work with R&B songwriter Percy Mayfield in producing the legendary single “Hit the Road Jack”. By the end of his career, Ray Charles had become famous worldwide as one of the most recognizable performers of his time.
Ray Charles was honoured with multiple awards – including several Grammies and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Ray was one of the first inducted not only into the Georgia State Music Hall of Fame, but also the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and his version of “Georgia On My Mind” has been made the official state song for Georgia.
Ray Charles died on 10 June 2004 in his home in Los Angeles, diagnosed with acute liver disease.
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