Charles was blind from the age of seven. Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, and country artists of the day, including Art Tatum, Louis Jordan, Charles Brown, and Louis Armstrong. Charles' playing reflected influences from country blues, barrelhouse, and stride piano styles. He had strong ties to Quincy Jones, who often cared for him and showed him the ropes of the "music club industry."
Frank Sinatra called him "the only true genius in show business", although Charles downplayed this notion.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Charles at number ten on their list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and number two on their November 2008 list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time". Billy Joel observed: "This may sound like sacrilege, but I think Ray Charles was more important than Elvis Presley". - Source Wikipedia
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