What was yout first exposure to Ray Charles?

Date if you can recall. Song will do. Concert maybe?

On a scale of 1-10 (10 high) how big a fan of Ray’s are you?

My dad’s copy of Crying Time was in the house before I was born (four years after its release). So, I don’t remember a time before I knew who he was.

I’m a high 9 as a Ray Charles fan. The song he did that I don’t like is very rare.

Diet Pepsi commercials.

My first awareness of Ray was my senior year of high school when What’d I Say came out like Gangbusters and rearranged what I had thought about music! This version rings in my head whenever I think of those years.

Like Smapti I remember Ray Charles’s Diet Pepsi commercials beginning in 1991, and at about the same time he appeared (in person) in the new title sequence for the sitcom Designing Women performing “Georgia On My Mind”.

I think I was aware of “Hit the Road, Jack” before this time when I was a pretty young kid, although I’m not sure when I first heard it or if I knew who sang it.

“Hit the Road, Jack,” sometime in the '60s.

I remember his “Hit the Road, Jack” when it was a top 40 hit.

I actually saw him live in concert in 1988. His backing band was the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Does this ring a bell for anybody? Flip Wilson - Ray Charles and Geraldine

In the mid 70s I think. At least that would be the time I could put the name and the face and the music together.

Of all the soundtracks Ray did, I think Ray Charles/Lalo Schifrin - The Cincinnati Kid may be my favorite, although there are several others in the running. Can you name a few of those others?

Circa 1967, via 8 track cassette tapes in my dad’s Buick Electra. “What’d I say?”

The film The Blues Brothers. Too young to see it at the cinema when it came out so it must have been shown on tv a few years later, say the mid '80s.

Ray Charles was considerably before my time. I do remember, as a little kid, hearing Bill Cosby’s routine about meeting Ray Charles and it didn’t make sense to me because I’d never heard of him before.

I’m from Georgia. I have always been aware of that dude who sang the song about the woman named after my state.

Just curious: do you associate that more with Willie Nelson or Ray? Or somebody else altogether? (One of the best “state songs” there is, IMHO.)

Definitely Ray, because Willie didn’t record it until 1978 or so, and I had heard Charles’ recording my whole life. My grandfather loved Ray Charles, and I have very early memories of him putting that album on the HiFi, and having a relaxing evening. (My grandfather was nearly blind as the result of a childhood injury. I wonder whether he felt some fraternity with another poor kid from Georgia who overcame his disability?)

I think it was “We Are the World”. I still have that on cassette somewhere.

I guess it depends on what you mean by exposure. IIRC, he regularly appeared on Sesame Street when I was a kid so if you mean when did I become aware of Ray Charles, then probably the mid 1970s. However, the first and only time I exposed myself to Ray Charles was in the late 1990s, right before I attended a free public concert he gave as part of a local arts festival. I changed out of my suit into something more casual for the concert inside my office, which had floor to ceiling windows overlooking the park where the concert was held, and he was out there talking to the press when I was changing. However, I don’t think he saw me.:smiley:

I hadn’t ever thought about it until I saw this thread and I can’t think of when I " became aware" , he just always was “there”. I’m guessing that an older aunt, uncle or cousin exposed me to him from very early on. The first artist I can remember becoming instantly aware of would be the first appearance of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Until that time music was always just something that was there. After that night I paid attention to it and learned what was good music and what was just filling empty air. Ray fell into the good catagory. These days there seems to be a lot of the filling empty air variety.

Well, in 1983 I opened my raincoat and flashed him, but he didn’t seem to notice.