Ray Charles was commemorated on September 23, 2013, his 83rd birthday, with a United States Postal Service Music Icons Forever® Stamp. Concord Records celebrates the occasion with the release of Ray Charles Forever, a deluxe CD/DVD collection on September 24th.
In addition, Concord Records produced a special edition of Ray Charles Forever with an exclusive bonus track, available at major Post OfficeTM locations across the country, as well as online at usps.com and ebay.com/stamps. Various launch events will be held across the U.S. to pay tribute to this momentous occasion, including at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, CA and the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.
"Ray Charles was a musical genius whose fans spanned the globe. The U.S. Postal Service is delighted to partner with Concord Music Group to announce the release of this new CD featuring the legendary Ray Charles," said Chief Marketing Officer Nagisa Manabe. "This CD, including an exclusive song never before released, serves as a stellar companion to the limited-edition Ray Charles Forever Stamp the Postal Service is issuing September 23, as the latest addition to the Postal Service's music icons series," Manabe said.
Ray Charles Forever features 12 remastered classics and unique gems including "A Song For You," "Ring Of Fire," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "Imagine," "America the Beautiful," and a previously unreleased recording of "They Can't Take That Away From Me."
The 20-minute DVD features rare live performances of "Imagine" (Goodwill Games, 1998), "They Can't Take That Away From Me" (Earth, 1992), and "A Song For You" (North Sea Jazz Fest, 1997) along with interview segments culled from the BBC's "Live In London" (1986) and Norman Seeff's "The Session Project" (1985).
"No matter how many awards and accolades he received, Mr. Charles was genuinely humbled by each and every honor. To him, it meant people appreciated what he loved doing so much-his music," said Valerie Ervin, President of the Ray Charles Foundation and Executive Producer, of the collection. "Georgia On My Mind, "Hit The Road Jack," "What'd I Say" and "I've Got A Woman" are among the many hits that are standards and meet the test of time. But to mark this momentous occasion, I selected songs that also exemplify the forever quality of his performances." Ervin is co-Executive Producer of the album along with John Burk, Chief Creative Officer of Concord Music Group. Six-time GRAMMY-winning producer Gregg Field also contributed to the album, producing the unreleased "They Can't Take That Away From Me," among other tracks.
During a career that spanned some 58 years, Charles performed a total of more than 10,000 concerts, and starred on over 100 albums, many of them top sellers in a variety of musical genres. He received the Lifetime Achievement and the President's Merit Award, is a recipient of the Presidential Medal For the Arts, Kennedy Center Honors, and France's Legion of Honor, received the NAACP Image Awards "Hall of Fame Award in 2004, and is one of the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He appeared in movies such as "The Blues Brothers," and starred in commercials for Coca-Cola, Diet Pepsi and California Raisins, among numerous others. In 2004, the biopic Ray was released for the world to see the historic life and times of the "Genius." The movie garnered six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and Jamie Foxx took home the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Ray. Charles' last public performance was on July 20, 2003, in Alexandria, VA. In 1998, Charles received the Polar Music Award, an award given for significant achievements in music.
Referring to his gift Charles said, "I don't call myself a blues singer or a jazz singer or a country singer. I just call myself a singer that can sing the blues, a singer that can sing jazz, a singer that knows how to sing country music, but in my own way."
* USPS edition (only) will include bonus track and will be available in Post Offices on September 23.
*Digital version includes the 12 music tracks only.
Online Media Kit: http://mediakits.concordmusicgroup.com/p/ray-charles-forever