NASHVILLE, TN Friday Jun.11.2004 / -- The country music community was quick to react to the news that Ray Charles had died of liver failure at age 73.
Charles, a monumental figure in American music, has been one of the best friends country music ever had for over 40 years. In fact it was 42 years ago, when he released his "Modern Sound in Country and Western Music, Volumes 1 and 2" and "Modern Sound in Country and Western Meet Rhythm and Blues." They contained Ray's versions of "You Don't Know Me," "You Are My Sunshine," "I Can't Stop Loving You," "Hey Good Lookin'", "Born to Lose," "You Win Again," nd more. Charles scored bit hits with "You Don't Know Me" (No. 2) and "You Are My Sunshine," (No. 7).

The popularity of those songs and the album legitimized the power and quality of country writers in Nashville in a profound way.

Country author and historian, Robert K. Oermann refers to Charles as a "Towering figure in American music." Oermann adds, "He broadened America's view of country music and taught all the other music genres about the power and poetry of country songs. He did so much for country music that he belongs in the Country Music Hall of Fame. And those were legitimate country albums because Ray grew up listening to country radio. He loved it and knew the music."

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