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

24 August 2010

Ray Charles Is In Town - Chronology 1968

Photo by Murray Neitlich, for CBS (late 1960s).

Photos probably by Joe Adams, c. 1968. Watermarked by Ray Charles Foundation.

Shot at TV show? Photo by Joe Adams, c. 1968. Watermarked by Ray Charles Foundation.
Ray Charles, c. 1968.
Photo possibly made by Burt Goldblatt, c. 1968.

Concert, c. 1968


Eleanor Rigby peaks at #35 on Pop Chart and #30 on R&B, Understanding at #46 on Pop and #13 on R&B, That's A Lie at #64 on Pop and #11 on R&B, Come Rain Or Come Shine at #98 on Pop.
A Portrait Of Ray peaks at #51, and I'm All Yours Baby! at #167 on Pop Album Chart.

January 1968
Release of the single Go On Home / That's A Lie.
Tangerine ad in Billboard, February 17, 1968.
16 January 1968
First air date of second part of Caltex Presents The Genius Of Ray Charles, on Channel 7 in Australia. Seen on more than 20 stations "Part 2 is [...] once again marked for an outstanding quality of sound. Hit The Road Jack, Shake, Georgia, Sister Mary, I don’t need a doctor, How high the moon, Going out of my Head, Something deep inside, and many more”). See this.

26 February 1968
Taping of Jonathan Winters Show (aired 6 March 1968). See this.
Ray Charles, The Four King Cousins (Tina and Cathy Cole, Candy Conkling,
Carolyn Cameron) and Jonathan Winters.

March 1968
Rehearsing with Orchestra and (mainly:) Raelettes.
Release of album A Portrait Of Ray.
Ad for A Portrait Of Ray.

21 and/or 26 March 1968
On Joey Bishop Show; see this.

9 April 1968
Attending Martin Luther King's funeral in Atlanta.

12 April 1968
On Operation: Entertainment (air date). See this.

5 – 14 April 1968
Latin Casino, Cherry Hill NJ (shows of 6, 7 and 8 canceled after assassination of Dr. King).
From Cashbox, Apr. 27, 1968.
15 April 1968
Start of Spring Tour 1968 - 31 cities in 56 days.
The Raelettes; f.l.t.r. Alex Brown, Mary Clayton, Gwen Berry, Clydie King. At an unidentified venue (poss. in or near St Petersburg, FA); photo by Bob Hannah, dated April 4, 1968; prob. published in Florida Times.
16 April 1968
Curtis Hixon Convention Hall, Tampa FL.

17 April 1968
Leon Cole Auditorium, JSU, Jacksonville AL.

18 April 1968
Florida A&M University, Tallahassee.

25 and 26 April 1968
Bushnell Memorial Hall, Hartford CT

27 April 1968
Holy Cross Field House, Worchester MA.

28 April 1968
Back Bay Theatre, Boston MA.
On Andy Williams Show, with Simon & Garfunkle, Mama Cass and Burt Bacharach. See this.

These b&w photos are dated March 26, 1968 (Photos: Getty Images).

29 April 1968
City Auditorium, Atlanta GA.

May 1968
Release of the single Understanding / Eleanor Rigby.
Trade ad in Billboard.

Early May 1968
Receives 2 gold records:
From Billboard, May 11, at unidentified event.

1 May 1968
Rochester NY.

4 May 1968
With His All New Show at Carnegie Hall, New York City NY.

7 May 1968
University of North Dakota Field House, Grand Forks ND

8 May 1968
Macalester College, St. Paul MN.

10 May 1968
Youngstown OH.

11 May 1968
Carnegie Hall, New York City NY.

12 May 1968
Public Music Hall, Cleveland OH.
From Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7 May 1968.

17 May 1968
Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem NC.

20 May 1968
Columbus GA.

22 May 1968
Monroe LA.

23 May - 2 June 1968
Booked for Circle Star Theatre in San Carlos - obviously postponed.

24 May 1968
Louisville KY.

25 May 1968
Shreveport LA.

26 May 1968
Municipal Auditorium, Nashville TN; winding up a 56-day tour of 20 states.

Summer 1968
Taped concert leads to It's a Blues Thing, a bootleg-ish album. See this.
Billy Preston joined the show again in July.
Watermarked publicity (wire)photo.
28 May - 2 June 1968
Circle Star Theatre, San Carlos.

4 to 9 June 1968
Melodyland Theatre, Anaheim CA.

14 June 1968
Will Rogers Auditorium, Fort Worth.

18 - 21 June 1968 [conflicting with Tulsa]
Two shows daily at Music Hall, Houston TX.
Back stage with fan on 20th.
19 June 1968 [conflicting with Houston?]
Assembly Center, Tulsa.

22 June 1968
Pittsburgh Jazz Festival, Pittsburgh PA.

23 June1968
Melody Fair, Wurlitzer Park, North Tonawanda NY ("dazzling a full house"); read this.

24 June 1968
Bushnell park, Hartford CT.

?25? June 1968
Gaither's Gymnasium, Florida A&M University, Miami FL.
From Chicago Defender, Jun 29.

26 June 1968
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs NY ("The singer-pianist has played to over eight million persons in 21 countries, earning himself a reputation as the apostle of 'soul'"; read this).

29 - 30 June 1968
Three shows at Civic Opera House, Chicago IL - "The Man Who's For Real".

3 July 1968
Kicking off the Music Festival  at John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia PA (co-billed with Nina Simone and the Mandrake Memorial).

4 July 1968
Civic Center, Charleston (with Billy Preston). Canceled.
Ad from Charleston Gazette, 9 Jun.
Cardboard poster.

6 July 1968
Convention Hall, Asbury Park NJ, opening Festival Of Stars (with "songbirds" and "songful cuties" Alexandra Brown, Clydie King, Gwendolyn Berry and Merry Clayton"; read this and this.

From Daily Register, July 3, with wrong line-up of The Raelettes.

From Variety, Sep. 11.

7 July 1968
Newport Jazz Festival, Festival Field, Newport RI  ("charged the emotional batteries of 8,000 worshipers. His 90 minutes of trenchant piano, vocal balance, rock and blues favorites and verbal comedy interludes were flawlessly paced"); with Billy Preston; read reviews here and here. Photo series here, here, here.

From Cashbox, July 20, 1968.

From Michigan Daily (Jul. 13): "Charles is an unequaled musical institution. He closed his performance with High-Heeled Sneakers [= Hi Heel Sneakers], bringing the house down 8 times. One highlight of the remarkable afternoon was the performance of Ode To Billy Joe by Sister Clara [= Clydie] of the Raelets. The Ode will never sound the same."
(Slightly distorted).
Clipped from sleeve of Japanese single "Come Live With Me".

Billy Preston (photo detail, captured from video).

From 1973 Japan Tour brochure.

F.l.t.r. Merry Clayton, Alex Brown, Gwen Berry and Clydie King. Photo by David Redfern.

Photo by Joe Johnson.
Photo by David Redfern.
Photos by Burt Goldblatt.

8 July 1968
Schaefer Music Festival, Central Park, New York City NY.
Ad in New York Amsterdam News, Jun. 15, 1968.
Review in Cashbox, July 20.
16 - 29 July 1968
2-week engagement at the Cocoanut Grove (Ambassador Hotel), Los Angeles CA (23,000 covers for his 23 shows, some nights as many as 25% turnaways).

This documentary had some footage from this gig.

"A big kiss is planted by Mrs. Della Charles on het famous husband's cheek after his opening [...]." From Los Angeles Sentinel, Jul. 25.
Ray and Della Charles. Photo by Harry Adams.
The opening night was a benefit for the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.
CBS filmed Ray at this venue, and used some of the footage (with fragments of Georgia, The Sun Died, Yesterday and Eleanor Rigby) in the documentary Of Black America - Body And Soul.
Concert card.

Rita Graham's 'Vibrations' album was "[...] the 'straw that broke the camel's back' for R.C.'s Raelettes. They all quit one night while the show was booked into L.A.'s Premiere night club, the Cocoanut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel. The next morning after I had been at the Grove, 'glowing' to everyone about my album that Ray Charles had produced, R.C. called me and asked me to be at his office in the Washington Boulevard RPM Studios within the hour. Two other girls there, Beverly LeShure and Susaye Green and I, made up the new (Instant) Raelettes. That night, we were standing on the stage of the Grove, and I was a nervous wreck. Unlike the other girls, I'd had no experience with harmony and group singing, because I'd never been a church singer and I'd never been with any singing group, except for solo work with a professional choir when I was eleven" (Rita Graham in an interview, published here).
Soul (Sep. 7, 1968) ran another explanation, spun by Joe Adams:

Photos (made on 16th) by Harry Adams.

Photo of the club's marquee.
18 July 1968
On Joey Bishop Show (ABC). See this.

27 July 1968
The Cloister; read this.

30 July 1968
Documentary Of Black America / Body And Soul first airs on CBS. See this.
Wire photo promoting the documentary Of Black America (photo prob. by Joe Adams).

31 July 1968
1 August 1968
Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento CA.
From Tower's early concert promoting days, a Western Union telegram confirming a date change.

August 1968
Release of the single Sweet Young Thing Like You / Listen, They're Playing My Song.

1 August 1968
Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento.

2 to 10 August 1968
Mr. D's, near Montgomery in San Francisco. With the new Raelettes.
Ad from Oakland Tribune, 28 Jul.

From Variety, Aug. 14.

4 August 1968
Ed Sullivan Show, with Billy Preston. See this.
Ed and Ray, probably from this show.

17 August 1968
New York Jazz Festival at Downng Stadium, Randall's Island, New York NY.

18 August 1968
Oakdale Musical Theatre, Wallingford CT.

19 to 25 August 1968
Carter Barron Amphitheatre in Rock Creek Park, Washington DC.

30 August 1968
Memorial Auditorium, Spartanburg SC.

31 August 1968
Steel Pier, Atlantic City NJ.
From Steel Pier's 1968 summer brochure.

September 1968
Between gigs, Ray flies to LA to record I'm All Yours, Baby.

3 September 1968
Stambaugh Auditorium, Youngstown OH.

Ad from Vindicator.
4 September 1968
Latin Casino, Cherry Hill.

6 - 12 September 1968
Apollo Theatre, New York. Schiffman index card: "Producer - Guaranteen $30,000 See Report. Mr. Charles has certainly rounded into a fine performer besides his musical genius. He did an hour of solid entertainment. Package - Raelets, Billy Wallace, Billy Preston, Ray Charles Orchestra".

13 September 1968
On Merv Griffin Show; see this.

13 or 14 September 1968
Wildwood NJ.

15 September 1968
Carousel Theatre, Framingham MA.

20 September 1968
Date mentioned for taping of BBC-2 show in London; see below.

Promotional brochure or poster or ad for 1968 European tour (from Ebay)?

21 September 1968
Two concerts at Royal festival Hall, London.

22 September 1968
Two concerts at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton.

23 September 1968
Konserthuset, Stockholm. Photos here.

25 September 1968
Njårdhallen, Oslo.

27 September 1968
Sport Palast, Berlin.
Original artwork by Günter Kieser, for album King Of Soul (ABC/Hör Zu), 1968.

28 September 1968
Musikhalle, Hamburg.

29 September 1968
Konzerthaus, Vienna. Brian Jones in the audience.

30 September 1968

Deutsches Museum, Munich.
Photo made by Ulli Schwenn, and therefore almost certainly shot in Munich (the author says in 1965, but that should probably be 1968).

Last week of September or early October
Concerts and TV show in the UK.
From New Musical Express, Sep. 21, 1968.

With Edgar Willis. Photo by J.P. Lecoz.

The photos above and the pics below are from a (yet to be identified) BBC TV show, which probably was taped between September 23 and October 4, in London. Also read this. Photos by David Redfern.

Billy Preston was part of the show.
From sleeve Impulse single Moanin'.
Source of newspaper photo: Leidsch Dagblad.
Ray flying on stage, in a '69 newspaper clipping from Leeuwarder Courant.

Billy Preston (photos: David Redfern / Getty). The first one surely from this same TV show, the bottom one possibly also.

1 October 1968

Liederhalle, Stuttgart.
On The Jerry Lewis Show (air date). See this.

2 October 1968
Kongresshaus, Zurich.

4 October 1968
Double concert Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt.
Photo by Joe Gromelski.

5 October 1968
Doelen, Rotterdam (after the intermission Ray announces that Preston is back to play the organ, but Billy is not on stage - "That's life," Ray says).
Ad from Het Parool, Oct. 4.
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (midnight concert); review (in Dutch) here; also see this.
Photo made in Holland, possibly around this date.

'Live In Amsterdam' taped for Dutch tv (air date 21 February 1969; see this); documentary footage for 'Ray Charles Big Band' shot for Dutch tv (air date 20 August 1969; see this).

On arrival at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. Photos by Eric Koch.

6 October 1968
Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels.

8 - 9 October 1968
La Salle Pleyel, Paris. First aired on October 12. See this.

Ticket stub (coll. Jean Francis Merle).


Photos: Redfern/Getty.

La Salle Pleyel, Paris; photo by Jean-Pierre Leloir.
Same concert?
12 October 1968
Dartmouth College, Hanover NH.

13 October 1968
Civic Center, Baltimore MD (with The Impressions and The Delfonics).

16 October 1968
Grady Gammage Auditorium at Arizona State University, Tempe AZ.
This photo was submitted to Facebook, with the following comment: "Sometimes archives can be disappointing! Yesterday the archivist was excited to find photos of Ray Charles at Gammage Audtiorium in 1968, but when we scanned from the 35mm contact prints we found the original photos were out of focus!"
17 October 1968
Civic Auditorium, San Jose.

18 October 1968
Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver BC.

19 October 1968
Center Arena, Seattle WA (with Andy Butler).

20 October 1968
New Civic Auditorium, Portland OR.

21 October 1968
Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ.

24 October 1968
Men’s Gym, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo CA.

25 October 1968
Selland Arena, Fresno CA, with Andy Butler (concert was taped; see this).

26 October 1968
Community College, Santa Fe NM.

28 October – 4 November 1968
Regal Theatre, Chicago IL.

November 1968
Release of the single If It Wasn't For Bad Luck (with Jimmy Lewis) / When I Stop Dreaming.
Trade ad from early '69 issue of Billboard.
Recording session for Coke commercials at RPM Studios in LA, with Aretha Franklin (the story goes that at a first session she arrived drunk, and had to return a day later).

Photo from Indianapolis Reporter, Feb. 22, 1969.
Music director Billy Davis, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles.
This PR piece appeared in the California Times on February 8, 1969.

5 November 1968

Civic Center Auditorium, Atlanta GA.

6 November 1968
Sings The Sun Died on The Bob Hope Show. See this.

10 November 1968
West Chester State College, West Chester PA.

11 November 1968
Ad from the program booklet.
 March of Dimes, Fairfield College Benefit Concert, Fairfield CT.
Program cover.

14 November 1968
'Soul Spectator '68' at T. Roosevelt Jr. Hi, Altoona PA (with Billy Preston).

17 November 1968
University of Akron, Wayne College, Orville OH.

20 November 1968
Minges Coliseum, Delta State College, Greenville NC.
From yearbook The Buccaneer.
21 November 1968
Mississippi State University, Starkville MS.

22 November 1968
Troy State University, Troy AL.

23 November 1968
Tully Gymnasium, Florida State University, Tallahassee FL.

27 November 1968
Memorial Auditorium, Chanute.

1 December 1968
Masonic Temple in Detroit MI.

5 - 18 December 1968
Copacabana, New York City NY.
8 December 1968
Ed Sullivan Show. See this.
Ray Charles and The Raelettes, performing Eleanor Rigby at the Ed Sullivan Show.

10 December 1968
"All new 1968 Revue with Orchestra & The Raelets" at Symphony Hall, Newark NJ. With Hugh Maskela.

21 December 1968
Clowes Memorial Hall, Indianapolis IN (2 shows).

22 December 1968
Auditorium, Chanute KS.

25 December 1968
At Civic Theatre in San Diego CA.

27 December 1968
Long Beach Auditorium, Long Beach CA.

28 December 1968
Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles CA.

29 December 1968
Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco CA.

Unidentified location (UK?), c. 1968.
Italian postcard; photo from late 1960s.

1 comment :

  1. Harry James Irvin16 June, 2012 04:44

    A missing concert from 1968 was in Philadelphia - Kennedy Stadium - in early July. I was there. It was one of the great nights of my life.

    Ray kicked off the Philadelphia Music Festival (I believe this is the correct name of the festival) sponsored by Schmidt's Beer). There were 6 or 7 concerts over the summer - all for the admission price of $1. The first scheduled date was rained out, but the show went on the next night. I saw Ray nearly 30 more times - the last time being at the Philadelphia Mann Center in 2001. That first concert, however, was absolutely incredible. I was 19, and my girlfriend and I were white suburban kids, included and accepted by an audience that was made up of probably 80% black folks. Keep in mind that Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy had both been assassinated within the past 3 months, and Philadelphia was, at times, a volatile place for race relations. If I could revisit one night of my life, it would be that evening. I can list most of the set. I still get chills when I hear the first chords of Yesterday, Makin' Whoopee, or Let's Go Get Stoned. Billy Preston, The Raelettes, and the RC Orchestra did the opening part of the show, and as the years moved on and these openings disappeared from Ray's shows, I really came to miss them. The openings were a great warmup for the main event.

    Ray's concerts became very predictable as he moved into his senior years. I was always happy to hear one or two songs I had not heard him previously perform live. That night in '68, however, it was all new, and I experienced most every emotion possible for a human being to feel. Those emotions continue even now - 44 years later. I would have loved to shake Ray's hand and thank him.

    Harry James Irvin Jr.
    Macungie, PA