Charles had always played for other people, but he wanted his own band. He decided to leave Florida for a large city, but Chicago and New York City were too big. After asking a friend to look at a map and note the city in the United States that was farthest from Florida, he moved to [[Seattle]] in 1947ref (where he first met and befriended, under the tutelage of [[Robert Blackwell]], a 14-year-old [[Quincy Jones]])refref and soon started recording, first for the Down Beat label as the Maxin Trio with guitarist G.D. McKee and bassist Milton Garrett, achieving his first hit with "Confession Blues" in 1949. The song soared to No.2 on the R&B charts.
In 1950, he played in a Miami hotel, impressing [[Henry Stone]], who recorded a Ray Charles Rockin' record which never became very popular. During his stay in Miami, Charles was required to stay in the [[...|segregated]] but thriving black community of . Stone later helped [[Jerry Wexler]] find Charles in St. Petersburg.ref
He joined [[Swing Time Records]] and under his own name ("Ray Charles" to avoid being confused with the boxer [[Sugar Ray Robinson]])ref recorded two more R&B hits, "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand" (No. 5) in 1951 and "Kissa Me Baby" (No. 8) in 1952. The following year, Swing Time folded and [[Ahmet Ertegün]] signed him to [[Atlantic Records]].ref
88 lines hidden (22589 characters)
In 1979, Charles was one of the first of the Georgia State Music Hall of Fame to be recognized as a musician born in the state.ref Ray's version of "Georgia On My Mind" was made the official state song for Georgia.ref In 1981, he was given a star on the [[Hollywood Walk of Fame]] and was one of the first inductees to the [[Rock & Roll Hall of Fame]] at its inaugural ceremony in 1986.ref He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986.ref
In 1987, he was awarded the [[Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award]]. In 1991, he was inducted to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. In 1993, he was awarded the [[National Medal of Arts]].ref In 1998 he was awarded the [[Polar Music Prize]] together with [[Ravi Shankar]] in [[Stockholm, Sweden]]. In 2004 he was inducted to the and inducted to the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame.ref The [[Grammy Awards of 2005]] were dedicated to Charles.
On December 7, 2007, Ray Charles Plaza was opened in [[Albany, Georgia]], with a revolving, lighted [[bronze sculpture]] of Charles seated at a [[piano]]. He was presented with the [[...|George and Ira Gershwin Award]] for Lifetime Musical Achievement, during the 1991 [[UCLA Spring Sing]].ref
In 2003, Charles was awarded an honorary degree by [[Dillard University]]. Upon his death, he endowed a professorship of African-American culinary history at the school, which is the first such chair in the nation.ref A $20 million performing arts center at [[Morehouse College]] was named after Charles and was dedicated in September 2010.ref
The biopic [[Ray (film)|]], released in October [[2004 in film|2004]], portrays his life and career between 1930 and 1979 and stars [[Jamie Foxx]] as Charles. Foxx won the [[77th Academy Awards|2005]] [[Academy Awards|Academy Award]] for [[...|Best Actor]] for the role.