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Ray Charles (1930-2004), RIP


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 6月10日、レイ・チャールズ帰天。享年七十三。
 おおお……。ご冥福を祈ります。

 Hallelujah, I just love you so!

Music Icon Ray Charles Dies in California at Age 73

By Steve Gorman


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ray Charles, who overcame poverty, blindness and heroin addiction to create soul music and become one of America's most beloved entertainers, died on Thursday at the age of 73 after a long fight with liver disease, his spokesman said.


Charles, hailed as "The Father of Soul" and best known for such hits as "Georgia On My Mind" and "Hit the Road Jack," died at 11:35 a.m. PDT (2:35 p.m. EDT) at his Beverly Hills home, surrounded by family, friends and business associates, according to the singer's longtime publicist Jerry Digney.


The legendary entertainer made his last public appearance on April 30, turning up in a motorized wheelchair for a ceremony dedicating his longtime recording studio in Los Angeles as an historic landmark.


Visibly frail, his voice reduced to a whisper, Charles' demeanor then was a far cry from the wildly enthusiastic performer known to millions of fans for more than half a century.


Charles' biographer, David Ritz, said the singer-songwriter had been unable to speak for the past two to three weeks.


Charles was forced to cut short a North American tour last summer due to hip pain, marking the first series of concerts he had missed in more than 50 years. He later underwent hip replacement surgery.


But other ailments were diagnosed, and unspecified complications forced him to scrap plans to resume touring with a performance in New York last month.


Blind since the age of 6 from glaucoma,*1 Charles collected 13 Grammy Awards during his career, including a lifetime achievement honor in 1987. He played his 10,000th concert last May at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles and in 2002 celebrated the 40th anniversary of his first hit on the country music charts, "I Can't Stop Loving You."


But Charles made his biggest mark in the 1950s by blending the spirituality of gospel music he learned in the black churches of his childhood with the sensuality of the blues to create an emotionally raw new genre called soul.*2


Soul helped pave the way for such performers as Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke and the birth of rock 'n' roll.


Charles released his latest album, "Thanks for Bringing Love Around," in 2002, including a new version of "What'd I Say," a song he originally released in 1959 that became one of his first hits.


Other notable recordings include the ballad "Georgia On My Mind," which became the official state song of Charles' home state,*3 as well as "Hit the Road Jack," "Yes, Indeed," "Hallelujah, I Love Her So," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "I Got a Woman," popularly credited as the first true soul record.


While best known for his contributions to soul music, Charles achieved success with pop standards, jazz tunes and country music.


Even with his health problems, Charles had been busy working on a CD of duets, titled "Genius Loves Company," with such performers as Elton John, Norah Jones, B.B. King, Diana Krall, Johnny Mathis and Willie Nelson. It was slated for release at the end of summer.


Charles had at least nine children with five different women. His 20-year marriage to Della, one of his original Raelettes, ended in divorce in 1977.

 レイの1978年の自伝 Brother Ray が出てこないので、同書からのレイ語録をたくさん含む 英 Telegraph の記事から。

Soul singer Ray Charles dies at 73
By David Millward
(Filed: 11/06/2004)


The pianist and singer Ray Charles died last night aged 73 at his Beverly Hills home.


He died surrounded by family and friends, after a long fight with liver disease, his spokesman, Jerry Digney, said.


Blind by age 7 and an orphan at 15, Charles emerged as one of the most influential figures in post-war music. His driving piano style and gospel-tinged singing shaped early soul music.


He was responsible for a string of hits including Georgia on my Mind and Hit the Road Jack.


Charles was born into extreme poverty but began dabbling in music at 3, encouraged by a cafe owner who played the piano.


"I was born with music inside me. That's the only explanation I know of," Charles said in his 1978 autobiography, Brother Ray.


"Music was one of my parts ... Like my blood. It was a force already with me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me, like food or water."


He studied musical composition at the St Augustine School for the Deaf and Blind,*4 where he learned to read and write music in Braille and play a number of instruments.


"Learning to read music in Braille*5 and play by ear helped me develop a damn good memory," Charles said. "I can sit at my desk and write a whole arrangement in my head and never touch the piano. There's no reason for it to come out any different than the way it sounds in my head."


Charles won 12 Grammy Awards - nine of them between 1960 and 1966, and the last one in 1993, for A Song for You.


While achieving musically, he struggled with a heroin addiction for nearly 20 years before quitting cold turkey in 1965 after an arrest at the Boston airport.


His last public appearance was with Clint Eastwood in Los Angeles on April 30 when his recording studio was designated a historic landmark.

 世界中で記事が出ているが、「ソウル・ミュージックはもともとスコットランドアイルランドから来たという説を私は唱えている」とヴァン・モリスンが言った通り、アイルランドとソウルとは関係が深い。Irish Examiner の記事はソウルフルである。

Music legend Ray Charles dies aged 73

By Mark Sage

[...]

Charles considered Martin Luther King Jr a friend and once refused to play to segregated audiences in South Africa. But politics didn't take.*6


He was happiest playing music, smiling and swaying behind the piano as his legs waved in rhythmic joy. His appeal spanned generations: He teamed with such disparate musicians as Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan and Eric Clapton, and appeared in movies including The Blues Brothers.


"The way I see it, we're actors, but musical ones," he once said. "We're doing it with notes, and lyrics with notes, telling a story. I can take an audience and get 'em into a frenzy so they'll almost riot, and yet I can sit there so you can almost hear a pin drop."


Charles was certainly no angel. He could be mercurial and his womanising was legendary. He also struggled with a heroin addiction for nearly 20 years before quitting cold turkey in 1965 after being arrested in Boston.


He later became reluctant to talk about the drug use, fearing it would taint how people thought of his work. "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."

 このようなメディアの報道ぶりを総括して、Greg Mitchell はすばらしい記事を Editor and Publisher に書いている。中でもヴァンのコメントは必見。

Papers Pay Tribute to a True Legend, Ray Charles

By Greg Mitchell

Published: June 10, 2004


NEW YORK He was a true American original who rose from humble beginnings to reshape his times for all who followed. Fans mourn his passing like few that came before. He made tens of millions proud to be an American.


No, not Ron. Ray.


When the great Ray Charles passed away unexpectedly on Thursday at the age of 73, newspapers scrambled to bring a sense of his genius and significance to the standard wire service reports, one of which opened by calling him “the Grammy-winning crooner.”


The Orlando Sentinel certainly improved on that with: “Ray Charles has the distinction of being both a national treasure and an international phenomenon.”


Reuters recalled Frank Sinatra calling him “the only genius in the business.” The Associated Press turned to Van Morrison (from a Rolling Stone interview): “His sound was stunning, it was the blues, it was R&B, it was gospel, it was swing, it was all the stuff I was listening to before that but rolled into one amazing, soulful thing.”


The Miami Herald noted that The Florida School for the Deaf and Blind joined fans around the nation in mourning the loss of their best-known graduate.


In another Reuters report, Steve James aptly observed that Brother Ray’s "I Got A Woman," from 1954 “is widely considered to be the key that opened the door for a crossover of the black musical heritage into the white American musical mainstream. ‘For blacks it served as an unabashed celebration of negritude without religion; to whites it opened doors that had always been shut,' said Peter Guralnick, a music writer and historian.”


Jon Pareles in The New York Times declared simply: “Mr. Charles reshaped American music for half a century as a singer, pianist, songwriter, bandleader and producer. He was a remarkable pianist, at home with splashy barrelhouse playing and precisely understated swing. But his playing was inevitably overshadowed by his voice, a forthright baritone steeped in the blues, strong and impure and gloriously unpredictable.”


Anyone for putting Ray Charles on a $20 bill? Actually, the 50 cent piece might be more appropriate. One of his most famous lines, from “Let the Good Times Roll” (off his classic “The Genius” album) was: “Don’t let no female play me cheap, I got 50 cents more than I’m gonna keep.”

                                                                                                                  • -

Greg Mitchell (gmitchell@editorandpublisher.com) is the editor of E & P and former executive editor of Crawdaddy.

(文中の太字と注釈は私が加えました。)

*1:緑内障

*2:レイ・チャールズがゴスペル曲をもとに <I Got A Woman> を生み出したのが1953年。それは彼にとって最初の大ヒット曲であったが、同時に、ソウル音楽や黒人のポピュラー音楽全般がゴスペルの伝統からインスピレーションを汲みだすという流れの始まりであったとも言える。

*3:1979年、ジョージア州は州法においてレイ・チャールズの <Georgia On My Mind> を州歌と定めた。

*4:フロリダ州北東部のセントオーガスティンにある聾盲学校

*5:19世紀、フランスのブライユが発明した点字

*6:目的語をとらない take で、'take root' 「根づく、定着する」の意〔NODE〕

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