Ray Charles, born Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 - June 10, 2004) was an American musician. Charles was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm & blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings for Atlantic Records. 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. During his tenure with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to receive and practice artistic control bestowed upon by a mainstream record company.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Charles number 10 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time", and voted him number two on their November 2008 list of "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time".