Ray Charles passed away today at age 73. He was a pioneer of soul music, blending gospel, jazz and blues together on the piano. He was born Ray Charles Robinson, but dropped Robinson from his name so he wouldn't be mistaken for the boxer "Sugar'' Ray Robinson when he started gigging. Once he got going with Atlantic Records, Frank Sinatra called him "the genius of soul."

"I've known times where I've felt terrible, but once I get to the stage and the band starts with the music, I don't know why but it's like you have pain and take an aspirin, and you don't feel it no more," he once said. Charles was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and won 13 Grammy Awards. Honor the man who was so much more than the Ray's Music Exchange salesman in the Blues Brothers. Play this Ray Charles Sampler on Rhapsody. -TK

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