Ray Charles Gets a Stamp: Postal Service Honors Music Legend

Image: Ray Charles Gets a Stamp: Postal Service Honors Music Legend

Tuesday, 24 Sep 2013 02:57 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Ray Charles is being honored on a postage stamp. The United States Postal Service released a new Forever Stamp on Monday bearing the late musical legend's photo as part of a "Music Icons" series.

The limited-edition stamp was issued Monday on what would have been the performer's 83rd birthday. Charles' stamp is the third in the "Music Icons" series, following Lydia Mendoza and Johnny Cash, according to the postal service.

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"Frank Sinatra, himself a stamp honoree, once characterized Ray Charles as 'the only true genius in show business,' and certainly, if anyone was a musical genius, it was Ray Charles," U.S. Postal Service Judicial Officer William Campbell said.

"Despite being blind and having a young life marked by tragedy, hardship, and tremendous challenges, Ray Charles went on to have a remarkable 58-year career playing music that blurred the lines of jazz, gospel, blues and, in later years, country. In doing so, he became the personification of the American Dream," Campbell added.

The stamp's image of Charles was taken by photographer Yves Carrere later in the pianist's career.

The stamp's sheet was designed to look like a 45 rpm record sleeve, the postal service said on its website. 

Charles' fusion of jazz, blues, gospel and country music essentially pioneered the soul and rhythm-and-blues genres.

Charles, who died in 2004, brought home 17 Grammy Awards and was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1986. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1993, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and performed for seven presidents: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush.

The biopic of his life, "Ray," earned Jamie Foxx an Academy Award for best actor in 2005. The movie won a second Academy Award for sound mixing. It was also nominated for best picture and best directing Oscars.

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