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Ray Charles’ Hometown Honors Legend With Statue

Organizers in Albany, Georgia unveiled a revolving, lighted bronze statue of late R&B singer Ray Charles on Friday in the middle of the newly renovated downtown plaza that bears his name. Family members attended the musical ceremony honoring the city’s most famous native son, born in 1930. “I can’t tell you how overwhelming it is for me to experience the love that you have for my father,” Sheila Raye Charles told the crowd of hundreds gathered at the $2 million plaza. Charles was born in Albany but moved to Florida with his mother when he was young. He frequently returned to his hometown to visit family. The Grammy-winning singer burst onto the music scene with the 1955 hit, I Got a Woman. Mixing various genres from country to blues to jazz to R&B and funk, his hit singles included “Born To Lose,” “Hit the Road Jack,” “What I’d Say,” “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and versions of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yesterday.” The singer died in 2004 at age 73. His version of “Georgia On My Mind” was made the official state song in 1979, 19 years after he recorded the chart-topping hit.

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