Video: Honoring The Visionary Ray Charles

Two stamp release events — held last week in Atlanta and Los Angeles — paid tribute to Ray Charles, the extraordinary composer, singer, and pianist. If you weren’t able to attend, this video provides some wonderful highlights. Enjoy!

And remember: the Ray Charles Forever® stamp is on sale now. The stamp is available online at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices around the country.

Ray Charles Is Third Inductee Into Music Icons Series

Recording artists Ashanti, Kenny Rogers, and Chaka Khan, and Reverend Jesse Jackson were among the luminaries who honored Ray Charles this week. At ceremonies held in Atlanta and Los Angeles on Monday, the legendary singer was inducted into the Music Icons stamp series.

The first event, held at Morehouse College’s Ray Charles Performing Arts Center, featured performances by Ashanti and the Morehouse College Glee Club. The second event, held at the Grammy Museum, featured performances by Chaka Khan and Summer Sessions.

Recording Artist Ashanti performs at the Ray Charles stamp dedication ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Recording artist Ashanti performs at the Ray Charles stamp dedication ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

“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,” said U.S. Postal Service Judicial Officer William Campbell, who dedicated the stamp at the Atlanta ceremony. “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.”

Chaka Khan performed at the Ray Charles stamp dedication ceremony at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

Chaka Khan performs at the Ray Charles stamp dedication ceremony at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

“It is with great pleasure that we honor a man who not only had an incalculable impact on the face of contemporary soul, R&B, gospel and rock, but also touched people individually,” said U.S. Postal Service Sales Vice President Cliff Rucker, who dedicated the stamp at the Los Angeles event. “The third in our new Music Icons series, Ray Charles’ stamp, another tribute to his legacy, will join those of distinguished performers Lydia Mendoza and Johnny Cash, which were dedicated earlier this year. And how fitting that Ray Charles and Johnny Cash, who in life were such great friends and recorded two duets together, will be reunited in the form of postage stamps.”

The Ray Charles Forever® stamp is available at usps.com/stamps, by calling 800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide. The Music Icons series, which launched May 15, 2013, with the Lydia Mendoza Forever stamp, honored Johnny Cash earlier this year.

Ray Charles at the Movies

This week, we’re celebrating the release of the new Music Icons stamp honoring the irrepressible Ray Charles. Did you know that this musical pioneer, also known as “Brother Ray,” has several links to the silver screen?

Poster

Inspired by mid-century album covers, this graphic 16 x 22-inch print reflects the rhythm and energy of Ray Charles’s music. Click the link for details.

  • Charles was given a Braille copy of the script for the movie based on his life, Ray.

And a final trivia question: Elvis Presley was known for his many film roles. What do Elvis and Ray Charles have in common? Hint: The answer also involves James Brown and Buddy Holly. Give up? Along with Elvis, James Brown, and Buddy Holly, Ray Charles was one of the ten original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Ray Charles CD Features Classic Performances

The Ray Charles Forever® stamp is available now! In conjunction with the stamp issuance, Concord Music Group is releasing a compilation CD of remastered classic Charles performances. The collection features 13 songs, including a previously unreleased version of “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and a USPS exclusive bonus track, “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.”

The disc’s cover features art from the Ray Charles stamp. The CD is available for $9.99 in Post Offices nationwide and online in the Postal Store.

Ray Charles

Ray Charles: The American Dream Personified

We are thrilled to announce that on Monday, September 23, the limited-edition Ray Charles Forever® stamp will be released in a celebration set to stretch coast to coast. The stamp will be officially dedicated at ceremonies in Atlanta and Los Angeles, and no doubt music fans across the nation will join the fun with their own celebrations and listening parties.

Invitations duoIn Atlanta, the dedication ceremony will take place in the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on the Campus of Morehouse College. The event in Los Angeles will take place at The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. LIVE, where Ray Charles has been recognized with 17 GRAMMY Awards.

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The Ray Charles Forever® stamp is currently available for preorder. Click the image for details.

Other honors include the Polar Music Prize, the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors. In 1986, Charles was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also performed for seven presidents.

“If anyone was a musical genius, it was Ray Charles,” says USPS Judicial Officer William Campbell. “He had a remarkable 58-year career playing music that blurred the lines of jazz, gospel, blues and country. He became the personification of the American Dream.”

We hope you can join us!