Ray Charles | Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 2018


♪ Georgia ♪ (applause) (soul music) ♪ Whoa, Georgia ♪ ♪ The whole day through ♪ – [Female Narrator] You
know, I love Ray Charles for what he’s done to
connect all the genres through music together. It’s just, there are a lot of people that, they’ve done that, but he’s done it in the most soulful way. – [Male Narrator] Obviously, his legacy on music is tremendous. I mean, he was the genius of soul. He broke down, you know,
genre and racial barriers. – [Female Narrator] God gifted him with an ear and a heart that could soothe any part of you that was hurting. – Well, I had only been
producer of ACL for one year, and within that first
year I made an effort to get Ray Charles to do the show. He was high on my list of my wish-list, or dream-list is more like it, to come and do a show. I figured, you know,
what have I got to lose? I didn’t seem to be getting
very far with Ray’s manager, so I knew he was coming to Austin on tour, and he was playing at the Erwin Center. So I knew the people over there, and I basically finagled my way to get in backstage at the Erwin Center. So I got to walk into Ray’s dressing room and told him who I was and before I’d even gotten
very far with my pitch, he knew what Austin City
Limit’s was right away. Talked about the quality of the
sound of Austin City Limits. So, long story short, Ray said sure, he’d love to do the show. But literally, within a few months, we had Ray Charles sitting on that stage, at his piano, with his orchestra. – [Male Narrator] Recorded
live from Austin, Texas. Austin City Limits presents:
A man and his soul, the music of Ray Charles. (applause) – This is probably about the
time I saw him in college. (applause) (big band music) – Here’s a quote he used to say, he said, “You know, I don’t want to be famous, I just want to be great.” So he really was always trying to take music to the highest level. Take performance to the highest level. (cheering) ♪ Deep in the heart of Texas ♪ (applause) – What really strikes me in the way Ray would deliver a song is about what he does with the melody. ♪ Deep in the heart of Texas ♪ Basically, he takes a melody to a song and just rips it into shreds
and then puts it back together, all stitched together in soul. And spirit. That’s Ray, bringing all genres together in the most soulful way. (soul music) – For starters, it’s the voice. The voice is unmistakable. Secondly, Mr. Charles sung in the way of any song that he interpreted. You felt it. You have to feel music,
and it teaches you, and every song told a story. And I think that’s what
makes him separate, and who he is and who he was. He sung what he felt. And he often said, “My
job is to make you believe that I actually did that and I didn’t.” (soul music) – The Lord will bless you and appreciate. Here are the Raylettes right now. (applause) (cheering) (drum beats) – I met Mr. Charles in the early- late ’50s and early ’60s. Well, Ray Charles had met me
traveling with my brother. And we had worked on the same ticket, but I had never worked for him directly. I was always a fan of his. And when my brother passed, I
didn’t want to sing anymore. And then one day I received
a call from Ray Charles. I had never dreamed of being in a group, other than the John Family. Something he said to me
in that first meeting, when I said, “I just don’t see myself going on a stage since
my brother is gone.” I said, “Because he was my motivation.” He said, “Nobody needs
to be your motivation. You and God are your motivation. He’s dead, you’re not. And you have to sing. Because singing is
some- it’s what you do.” But it was electrifying. Because he got me completely
away from sadness and a loss. To this is my place. ♪ It’s useless to say ♪ ♪ (soul music) ♪ ♪ So I’ll just live my life ♪ – [Female Narrator] He
just put himself into it. Everything, every note, every nuance. – [Male Narrator] Ray’s influence extends, you know, for generations. His impact is profound. (soul music) (applause) (applause) (applause) (applause)

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