Today in Music History: Ray Charles was inducted into the Rock Hall

Ray Charles performing circa 1980s
Singer, pianist and songwriter Ray Charles performs in concert, 1980s. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

History Highlight:

Today in 1986, Ray Charles was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the first induction dinner, held in New York City. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings. He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his Modern Sounds albums. While with ABC, Charles became one of the first African American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company. Rolling Stone ranked Charles No. 10 on their list of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" in 2004, and No. 2 on their November 2008 list of "100 Greatest Singers of All Time".

Also, Today In:

1956 - Rock 'n' Roll fans in Cleveland under 18 were banned from dancing in public (unless accompanied by an adult), after Ohio Police enforced a law dating back to 1931.

1965 - "Downtown" made Petula Clark the first U.K. female singer to have a No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart since Vera Lynn in 1952. The song was also a No. 2 hit in the U.K.

1969 - Working at Apple studios in London, The Beatles (with Billy Preston on keyboards) recorded ten takes of a new song called "Get Back". Originally released as a single on April 11, 1969 and credited to "The Beatles with Billy Preston," a different mix of the song later became the closing track of Let It Be, which was the Beatles' last album released just after the group split.

1971 - Dawn started a three-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Knock Three Times", the group's first No. 1, which was also a U.K. No. 1.

1976 - David Bowie released his tenth studio album Station to Station which was the vehicle for his latest character - the Thin White Duke. The album made the top five in both the U.K. and U.S. charts.

1977 - Carole King's Tapestry set a new record: 302 weeks on the Billboard Albums chart.

1977 - Patti Smith broke her vertebra when she fell off the stage at a gig in Tampa, Florida.

1978 - Terry Kath, guitarist with Chicago, died from an accidentally self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

1988 - At age 16, Tiffany became the youngest female singer with a No. 1 album in the U.S. when her self-titled debut topped the chart.

1988 - Nirvana recorded a 10-song demo with Seattle producer Jack Endino. Sub Pop records boss Jonathan Poneman heard the tape and offered to put out a Nirvana single.

1988 - Michael Jackson went to No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "The Way You Make Me Feel". It was the third single from Jackson's seventh studio album Bad for which Jackson had written over sixty songs for the album, with plans of releasing a three-disc album, but producer Quincy Jones convinced Jackson to make Bad a one-disc LP.

1988 - The California Raisins' "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" peaked at No. 84 on Billboard's Hot 100.

1990 - Allen Collins, guitarist from Lynyrd Skynyrd, died of pneumonia after being ill for several months.

1990 - David Bowie announced his forthcoming Sound And Vision 1990 tour, during which he invited each local audience to decide on a "greatest hits" running order, organized through local radio stations.

1991 - The Albuquerque, New Mexico, radio station KLSK FM played the Led Zeppelin song "Stairway To Heaven" over and over for 24 hours to inaugurate a format change to classic rock. It played more than 200 times, eliciting hundreds of angry calls and letters.

1997 - "Louie Louie" composer (and original performer) Richard Berry dies of heart failure at age 61.

1998 - The Spice Girls movie "Spice World" hit theaters in America.

2000 - Santana started a three-week run at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with Supernatural, the album which went on to win eight Grammy awards spent a total of nine weeks at No. 1 during this year.

2017 - Bobby Freeman, who wrote and recorded the 1958 hit "Do You Want to Dance," died at age 76.


Django Reinhardt, famous for a 2-finger guitar style, was born today in 1910.

Robin Zander, lead singer of Cheap Trick, is 67.

Nick Harmer, bassist for Death Cab for Cutie is 45.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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