While studying for the exam and listening to the songs ,one stood out in particular. It was I Got A Woman by Ray Charles. Just his voice alone is so soulful and immediately drew my attention. I have heard of Ray Charles’ name before, yet I was unaware of pretty much anything about him or the song. Ray was a pianist, singer, songwriter, arranger, saxophonist, and a skilled electric musician. The man knew how to play music, thats for sure. He moved t Seattle in 1948 and began playing in clubs and recording in a sophisticated rhythm and blues style. Ray had a charming personality and showed how a poor, blind man from the Deep South can overcome any obstacle. His song I Got a Woman reached No. 1 on the R&B charts and reflected an advance in his musical style. Charles became known as “The Genius” with this new style that blended so well together. Charles later introduced pop influences, and eventually won multiple Grammys. However, Charles later on struggled with a heroin addiction and from that point his hits were hit or miss. Yet, he still remained a big player in the music industry. In the late 70s, he released Brother Ray, which is the article in the reader. Charles died in 2003 from a liver disease. His musical talent and energetic personality can still be found today in his music. The Genius, Ray Charles, helped paved the for many musicians today.
There’s a song almost everyone, young or old has at least heard once in their lives. Its Hound Dog. Hound Dog, with its catchy tune, was a twelve-bar blues song. It was recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton on August 13, 1952 in Los Angeles. Released by Peacock Records, it became Big Mama’s only hit record, spending seven weeks at number one on the R&B charts. It became known as one of the songs that shaped Rock & Roll. However, her version isn’t what many people relate the song to. In July of 1956 Elvis Presley’s version was released. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love Elvis?! He was the king of rock ‘n’roll. If somebody asked me my top 5 Elvis songs, Hound Dog would be one of the first ones to go on my list. I’m not the only one that prefers Elvis’ version over Big Mama’s; as it sold over 10 million copies globally. When I think of Hound Dog, i think pure rock ‘n’ roll. I was surprised to read that this song can be classified pop, country, and R&B. Both versions have a purpose. Big Mamas highlight her voice and the true meaning of the song (about a women exposing her man). Elvis’s is more focused on transforming the song and music industry with powerful instruments combined with an upbeat tempo. Regardless of which version people see as better, Hound Dog is a staple in American music and will always be a song that everyone knows.