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10 June 2010

The Man: Ray Charles Discusses His Career (1991)

The Man: Ray Charles Discusses His Career was an interview-and-mini-documentary produced by NBC's Today Show. It was aired in two parts of a little over six minutes on 6 and 7 November 1991. A time-coded copy of the 11/7 episode can be watched on the NBC Archive website. The Ray Charles-part of the 11/6 episode has been numbed for copyright reasons.

"Insert of Chicka Chicka, a musical collection of children's songs sang by Charles [cf. this, BS], & insert of a compact disc collection from Atlantic records of all Charles' songs. Recorded while with them in the 1950s. In New York City; at the Blue Note Club, Charles is announced as he enters room & is escorted to stage amid a standing ovation from crowd. Charles performs at a shopping mall during Pepsi Cola promotional tour. Clip from a Pepsi tv commercial with Charles & back-up singers seen. Charles sings the Uh-huh Pepsi theme song. Charles performs in mall at his piano as in VO he says his voice is as strong as it has ever been. In interview, Charles says "What I do is sheer pleasure", & adds that it is amazing that he can make an honest living doing what he does. Charles says that if he didn't know he was 61-years old he would swear he was 30 because he feels great. Charles says he didn't know what a musician was until he was taught to play a piano properly when he was very young. Charles says he never wanted to be considered the typical blind musician, & adds that his mother pushed him to use his brain and develop himself. He says he doesn't see very much individuality in today's musicians, & adds that Duke Ellington, for example, was so distinctive that one could pick out his music by hearing only one or two notes. Charles says he sang at the Republican National Convention for money & exposure and not for any political reasons. Charles points out that if you can't appreciate a good woman, then what can you appreciate? Charles says he would not have traded his musical talent for the gift of sight if given the chance. B&w clip of Charles performing in concert hall, as in VO he says he could see until he was about 7 years of age. Charles sings song Hit The Road Jack, with a band & back up singers, as in VO he says rap music does nothing for him. Clips of Charles performing on stage & singing about women seen. At the 1984 Republican Convention, 8-24 in the Dallas Convention Center, Charles sings America The Beautiful; shots of supporters in audience waving state flags & signs while singing along; & Charles is greeted by then-pres Reagan & then-vice pres Bush. Charles performs on stage with a band as audience applauds at end of performance, as in VO Charles says his musical talents are worth everything to him."

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