Mediagraphy - Discography - Trackography - Videography - Gigography - Biography - Chronology

23 April 2010

Ray Charles Ft. In CMA's 25th Anniversary Concert (1983)

On 16 March 1983 Ray Charles performed during the two-and-a-half-hour Country Music Association's 25th Anniversary Concert, at Constitution Hall in Washington, directed by Walter C. Miller, and televized by CBS on 13 April. Kris Kristofferson co-hosted with Anne Murray. Among the 33 other artists were Willie Nelson, Ronnie Milsap, The Oak Ridge Boys, Barbara Mandrell, Mickey Gilley and Charlie Daniels. Mr. and Mrs. Raegan and ('the old') Mr. and Mrs. Bush were in the audience.

The event was also covered by NBC on 16/17 March 1983: "Pres[ident] Reagan attends 25th Anniversary of Country Music Association. [...] Ray Charles plays piano and sings national anthem. Reagan says every time someone mentions fiddles he thinks another congressional [committee] is messing around with his defense budget." The database describer confused America The Beautiful with the "national anthem".

Photos by Charlyn Zlotnik (Getty).
The only way to have Ray Charles appear in a show's finale was to let him sing. It happened as the last sequence of this show.
A contemporary edition of The Utica Observer revealed the official title (Kraft Salutes the 25th Anniversary Of The Country Music Association) and names most of the 33 artists who contributed to the show (and this finale). Don't miss Willie Nelson's look when he observes how Reagan hugs Ray:

America The Beautiful:
   [cf. copy of complete show, below, including the hugs]

The Utica Observer also described how Ray performed together with Ronnie Milsap. "The spontaneous and prolonged standing ovation, which includes President and Mrs. Reagan and Vice President and Mrs. Bush, rocks Constitution Hall."

Complete show, with a duet-medly of Don Gibson tunes - Oh Lonesome Me, (I'd Be) A Legend In My Time, I Can't Stop Loving You (+ final shots with Ray and Raegan shaking hands), and Ray's rendition of America.



  2. Right: cf.