Friday, June 10, 2011

WE REMEMBER JUNE 9th

We Remember: June 9th

1940:     King Haakon of Norway and the Prime Minister order loyal Norwegians to cease fighting.

The Germans reach the Seine River.  Dieppe and Compiegne fall.  France is taking heavy losses in the fighting.

RAF 4 Group bombs road and rail communications in France. 10 Sqn. Nine a/c to Libremont, Sedan and Neufchateau. All bombed. 51 Sqn. Eleven a/c. All bombed. One damaged by Flak, tail-gunner wounded. 58 Sqn. Six a/c to Amiens. All bombed. 77 Sqn. Seven a/c to Somme bridges. Six bombed. One hit by Flak and crashed at Abingdon on return. 102 Sqn. Eight a/c to Abbeville and St. Valery. All bombed. (Andy Etherington)

With the Germans just 50 miles away, the government leaves Paris and heads west for Tours. Paris is left in the hands of a military governor, General Hering. (Andy Etherington)

By dawn it is obvious to all interested parties, from the Admiralty on down, that some form of disaster has befallen HMS Glorious and company, from which no word has been heard since departing the Narvik area, and requests for position reports have gone unanswered...
     Meanwhile, Ark endeavored to keep an A.D.A. patrol of two Swordfish and a fighter patrol of three Skuas over the troop convoy throughout the day.  Also, commencing at 0405, she began launching a series of more and more extensive air searches in front of and beyond the convoy.
     At 0405, four Swordfish searched the sector from 130 to 225 degrees, ahead of the convoy.  The aircraft reported a small convoy and several independents, but no enemy warships.  At 0718 two Swordfish were sent to the rearward sector to search for a missing ship, SS Vandyck (13,241 BRT), but she was not found (bombed and sunk by a Fw-200C of 1/KG 40).  At 1000 four more Swordfish were dispatched between 130 and 210 degrees, then at 1110 another three went out between 275 to 090 degrees (a fairly skimpy number for such a wide sector)
     At 1300, a large coordinated effort was sent off, and for the first time 701 SquadronÕs Walrus amphibians took part as well.  First six Swordfish and two WalrusÕ departed to search between 110 southward to 285 degrees.  A further three Skuas were sent off to search between 315 Northward to 035 degrees.  The former went out to 100 miles, the later only 20 miles past the convoy.  The whole process was repeated at 1545 by a like number of aircraft.  At 1830 six Swordfish and three Walrus' went out to 120 miles between 175 Southward to 340 degrees, while three Skuas went out on the arc 015 to 140 degrees to 20 miles astern of the convoy.  All of the efforts availed nothing, as the two German battleships were well on their way to Trondheim.
     Meanwhile, word had come in that HMS Valiant, escorting the convoy, had spotted a snooper.  Thus, immediately after the search went up, a section of 800 Squadron Skuas under Lieutenant G. R. Callingham, RN went up to intercept and then patrol over the convoy.  On arrival, they found, chased, and brought down a He-115 of KuFlGr 506, though the German crew was rescued by another He-115.
     At 2145, a similar search (six Swordfish and two Walrus) went out between 155 westward to 355 degrees, distant 129 miles, with three Skuas again going astern.
     Then, at 2300, six He-111s of II/KG 26 were sighted approaching Ark Royal from astern.  The Red section trio of 803 Squadron was already in the air and Lt. D. C. E. F. Gibson, RN led them after the Heinkels downing one 5 Staffel machine and damaging another.  Likewise, Lieutenant G. E. D. Finch-Noyes, RNÕs section of three from 800 Squadron, sent off at 2315 to reinforce the CAP, damaged another in a long chase.  At 2355, two more sections were sent aloft, Lieutenant C. W. Peever, RNÕs trio from 803, and Acting Major R. T. Partridge, RMÕs from 800.  They too became embroiled with the last of the Heinkels, forcing them to jettison their bombs and flee.  No FAA aircraft were hit.
     Apparently, several of the FAA search aircraft, including at least one Walrus, were sighted by Glorious survivors in the water, but the nasty weather, and the height of the aircraft combined to hide the Carley floats still, at this point, overloaded with the weakened and frozen survivors. (Mark Horan)

The heavy cruiser USS Vincennes (CA-44) and destroyers USS Truxton (DD-229) and USS Simpson (DD-221) arrive at Casablanca, French Morocco from the U.S. The Bank of France's gold reserves, 200 tons of gold brought to Casablanca by a French auxiliary cruiser, will be loaded in the U.S. cruiser and taken to New York City for deposit in U.S. banks. (Jack McKillop)

1941:     The Allied advance in Syria continues to make good progress and captures Tyre.

A naval battle off the coast of Syria will include 4 British and 2 Vichy destroyers.  Two French destroyers were sighted by the British destroyers HMS JANUS and HMS JACKAL. In the ensuing engagement both of the British ships were damaged, HMS JANUS seriously. The French ships used their superior speed to withdraw when two more British destroyers, HMS ISIS and HMS HOTSPUR, came up.  (John Nicholas and Peter Beeson)

The plan for a joint U.S. Army-Marine Corps invasion of the Azores in the event that German invades Spain and Portugal is suspended when intelligence sources learn that Germany has no intentions to invade the Iberian Peninsula. (Jack McKillop)

Canada:     Minesweeper HMCS Canso is launched at North Vancouver.
     Minesweeper HCMS Granby is launched at Levis PQ.
     Corvette HMCS Saskatoon is commissioned.
     Tug HMCS Patricia McQueen is assigned to Gaspe PQ.
     RN Auxiliary Oiler Clam arrives St John's and joined the NEF. (Dave Shirlaw)

1942:     Operation Drumbeat continues with German submarine sinking an armed U.S. freighter in the Caribbean, 60 miles (96.6 km) off the Honduran coast. (Jack McKillop)

Lieutenant Commander Lyndon B. Johnson, USNR, on a congressional inspection tour of the Southwest Pacific, boards a B-26 Marauder, msn 1353, USAAC s/n 40-1488, flown by 1st Lt. W.H. Greer as pilot and RAAF Sergeant Pilot G.A. McMullin as co-pilot. The aircraft was named "Heckling Hare." This a/c was part of the USAAF's 19th Bombardment Squadron (Medium), 22d Bombardment Group (Medium) based at Townsville, Australia, to participate in an attack on Japanese airfields in New Guinea. The aircraft takes off but engine trouble forces the pilot to return to base without having seen combat.
     Eleven B-26 Marauder's of the 22nd Bombardment Group (Medium) departed Townsville, Queensland, Australia, at 1330 hours local on 8 June 1942 and arrived at Seven Mile Aerodrome, Port Moresby, New Guinea, by 1746 hours local. They then raided Lae, New Guinea, on 9 June 1942. This mission was called "TOW 9" in the official records. Lieutenant Commander Lyndon Baines Johnson, USNR, the future 36th President of the United States, went on this raid as an observer.
     Lyndon Johnson travelled from Townsville to Port Moresby by B-17 on the morning of the raid.
     The raid was delayed by an hour waiting for the VIP's that were to accompany them on the raid. The VIP's were Congressman Lyndon Baines Johnson (USNR), General Marquat, Col. G. Anderson (Gen Staff), Lt. Col. Dwight Divine II and Lt. Col. Francis R. Stevens.
     Lyndon Johnson was initially assigned to Lt. Bench's aircraft, "The Virginian," USAAC 40-1508. But he apparently left the aircraft to retrieve his camera and on return he found that Lt. Col. Francis R. Stevens had taken his place on "The Virginian." Lyndon Johnson then changed aircraft from "The Virginian" to Arkie Greer's "Heckling Hare" just before he took off on the mission.  The crew of "Heckling Hare" apparently also knew their aircraft as "Arkansas Traveller."
     This was fortuitous for Lyndon Johnson, as Bench's aircraft, "The Virginian," was boxed in so low by "Shamrock," Thunderbird" and "Boomerang" as they departed the target, that "The Virginian" flew into the water off Salamaua killing Willis Bench and all of his crew.
     After the mission, Lyndon Johnson returned to Australia in General Brett's Boeing B-17D Flying Fortress, USAAC 40-3097 "Swoose" flown by Captain Frank Kurtz. They almost ran out of fuel when they became lost heading for Cloncurry, Queensland. They landed in the bush on Carisbrooke Station near Winton. This B-17, "Swoose", then flew back to USA with General Brett. The aircraft is owned by the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.
     Nine days after the raid, Lyndon Johnson was awarded an Amy Silver Star medal, the nation's 3rd highest medal for valor, by General MacArthur's chief of Staff, Major-General R.K. Sutherland for his participation in the above bombing raid.  He often wore this medal during his term as President of the United States. He refused to discuss the details of how we won the medal. His citation  read:-
     "For gallantry in action in the vicinity of Port Moresby and Salamaua, New Guinea on June 9, 1942. While on a mission of obtaining information in the Southwest Pacific area, Lieutenant Commander Johnson, in order to obtain personal knowledge of combat conditions, volunteered as an observer on a hazardous aerial combat mission over hostile positions in New Guinea. As our planes neared the target area they were intercepted by eight hostile fighters. When, at this time, the plane in which Lieutenant Commander Johnson was an observer, developed mechanical trouble and was forced to turn back alone, presenting a favorable target to the enemy fighters, he evidenced marked coolness in spite of the hazards involved. His gallant action enabled him to obtain and return  with valuable information."
     Lyndon Johnson's diary records the following regarding this mission:-
     "After we were off the field with Prell and Greer leading, Greer's generator went out: crew begged him to go on. For the next thirty minutes we flew on one generator."
     After President Roosevelt ordered all members of Congress in the Armed Forces to return to their legislative duties, Johnson was released from active duty under honorable conditions on 16 June 1942. In 1949 he was promoted to Commander in the Naval Reserves to date from 1 June 1948. During his time in service, Johnson was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal. After he became President following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson's resignation from the United States Naval Reserve was accepted by the Secretary of the Navy effective 18 January 1964. (Jack McKillop)

The Japanese declare that the Philippine Islands are secured. (Jack McKillop)

Madagasgar:     HMS Ramillies leaves Diego Suarez today, bound for Durban for structural repairs. Her escort on the journey was by the light Cruiser HMS Emerald, three destroyers and a tug. There was much apprehension about the journey due to the extensive damage she had taken, from the Japanese midget submarine attack, and worry about the gaping hole in her side. She arrives at Durban late today having been escorted for the latter part of her journey by HMS Jasmine and HMS Fritillary. 
     She will leave for Cape Town and the UK on the 6th August 1942 arriving back at Plymouth on the 8th September for further repairs at the Devonport Dockyard. She will be out of service for nearly a year (Denis Peck)

Canada:     Lt Denis James Patrick RCNVR awarded Bar to George Medal
     Harbor craft HMC HC 181, 161, 155, 162, 170 & 177 are ordered from SG Mason Tancoak in Nova Scotia.
      Harbor craft HMC HC 151, 152, 153, 197, 154 & 169 are ordered from Palmer & Williams Summerside in Prince Edward Island. (Dave Shirlaw)

1943:     Medium and heavy bombers, and fighters of the Northwest African
Strategic Air Force (NASAF) continue pounding Pantelleria Island in the
Mediterranean in predawn hours and during the afternoon. (Jack McKillop)

In the Aleutian Islands, Japanese submarine HIJMS I-169 lands one ton of weapons and ammunition and two tons of food on Kiska Island and then evacuates 32 sailors and 29 Japanese civilians. A USN vessels sights the sub in the dense fog at 2250 hours local and fires six rounds at it but misses. The sub escapes in the fog.
    Japanese submarine HIJMS I-9 departs Paramushiru Island in the Kurile
Islands for Kiska but is never heard from again. (Jack McKillop)

1944:     Finland:      The Soviet offensive against Finland in the Karelian Isthmus is initiated by a massive artillery bombardment and series of probing attacks by Army General Leonid Govorov's Leningrad Front. By nightfall the Red Army units have succeeded in penetrating into Finnish defences and tying the local Finnish reserves in battle. The main blow follows tomorrow.
     The Soviet aviation is also active. Ground attack and bomber aircraft scour the Finnish rear. Finnish Me 109G and Brewster Buffalo fighters of Aviation Regiment 3 (Lt. Col. Gustaf Magnusson) claim ten Soviet aircraft shot down over the Isthmus without own losses. The Finnish claims are 2 x Airacobra, 4 x La-5, 3 x Il-4 and a Pe-2 (research in Russian archives has so far confirmed the loss of 3 x Il-4, from 55th and 836th Bomber Aviation
Regiments and 113th Bomber Aviation Division). However, bad weather saves Finns from a very serious blow: Soviet long-range bomber aviation was ordered to bomb the city of Viipuri (Vyborg) in north-western Isthmus by several hundred aircraft. The bombers, based in southern Russia, are forced to abort the mission after meeting an area of thunderstorms over central Russia. Viipuri, besides of being of great symbolical signifigance, is also an important supply and communication hub for Finnish forces in the Karelian Isthmus. (Mikko HŠrmeinen)

Marshall Badoglio resigns from the Italian government.  Ivanoe Bonomi forms a new cabinet.

The British are involved in heavy fighting around Caen in Normandy.  The US VII Corps takes Azeville on the way to Cherborg.  Allied aircraft are operating from air fields in Normandy.

Off the Coast of Normandy:     At 0100, eight ships of the 10th Destroyer Flotilla, organized into two divisions of four destroyers each, encountered a German formation of two large Narvik-class DD's (Z-24 & Z-32) the ex-Dutch DD ZH-1 (formerly HNLMS Gerhard Callenburgh) & the 1939-class torpedo boat (known as Elbing- class to the allies) T-24. The German formation had sortied from Brest to attack the allied invasion forces off of the Normandy coast & was then to proceed to Cherbourg to deliver a deck cargo of torpedoes for German E-boats. Upon encountering the 19th Division (Tartar (SO), Ashanti, Haida & Huron) the German formation split.
     Z-32, which was the lead ship with their Senior Officer embarked, altered to the north towards the 20th Division (Blyskawica, Javelin, Piorun, & Eskimo), ZH 1 altered west towards the 19th Division, & Z-24 with T-24 altered away to the south-west. Tartar & Ashanti sank ZH-1 while Haida & Huron pursued Z-24 & T-24.
     The faster German ships soon outran Haida & Huron, who then reversed course to return to the other action. At 0254, they encountered Z-32, who had outrun the 20th Division & was returning to the south at 31 knots. Z-32 attempted to shake off her pursuers by running eastward through a known minefield but the combined allied force eventually cornered her. Z-32 deliberately ran herself hard ashore where she was shelled & left in flames. Subsequent air attacks by Canadian 'Beaufighter' torpedo-bombers finished the destruction of the wreck. (Dave Shirlaw)

The Allied advance continues North of Rome in Italy.

During the eveningÊthe 327 Glider Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division crossed the River Douvre in Normandy. In addition the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment passed a few men across the river on that night.ÊThe 327thÊhad  a mission of cutting the main road leading east out of Carentan so as to prevent an escape by Germans on that road. (Jay Stone)

What a 19 year old sailor on U.S.S. Guadalcanal CVE60, wrote in his diary:   June 9,1944. The Abnaki, a fleet tug, and the Kennebeck, met us, and refueled us, and took U 505 in tow, for our 2500 mile trip home.  (Jim Verdolini)

Bad weather prevents operations by the USAAF's Eighth and Ninth Air Forces in England. (Jack McKillop)

The USAAF's Fifteenth Air Force in Italy dispatches around 500 B-17 Flying Fortresses and B-24 Liberators to attack targets in Germany and Italy; B-17s hit the industrial area and air depot at Munich, Germany; B-24s also hit the industrial area and ordinance depot at Munich and oil storage at Porto Marghera, Italy; P-47 Thunderbolts, P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs fly 250+ sorties in support of the Munich raids; the bombers and fighters claim 30+ aircraft destroyed; 13 USAAF aircraft are lost. (Jack McKillop)

>From the Cincpac Press Office:     JOINT STATEMENT, JUNE 9, 1944
The following joint Anglo-American statement on submarine and anti-submarine operations is issued under the authority of the President and the Prime Minister:
     "During May our shipping losses have been by far the lowest for any month of the war, and they have in fact been a fraction of the losses inflicted on enemy shipping by our warships and aircraft, although their merchant shipping is petty compared to that of the Allies.
     "There has been a lull in the operations of the U-boats which perhaps indicates preparation for a renewed offensive. The change which had come over the scene is illustrated by the fact that in spite of the few U-boats at sea, several are now sent to the bottom for each merchant ship sunk whereas formerly each U-boat accounted for a considerable number of merchant ships before being destroyed.
     "This is to be ascribed to the vigilance and to the relentless attacks of our Anglo-American-Canadian and other anti-U-boat forces, including the scientists who support them in a brilliant manner."
     CINCPAC PRESS RELEASE NO. 438,  Truk Atoll was bombed by Seventh Army Air Force Liberators on the night of June 7-8 (West Longitude Date). Airfields were the principal tar-gets. Antiaircraft fire was meager and inaccurate.
     Ponape Island was attacked by Liberators of the Seventh Army Air Force on the evening of June 6 and at night on June 8. Airfields, plantation areas, and Ponape Town were bombed. Antiaircraft fire was meager.
     Ventura search planes of Fleet Air Wing Two bombed Pakin and Nauru Islands on June 6. Antiaircraft batteries were hit at Pakin Island.
     Enemy positions in the Marshalls were bombed and strafed by Dauntless dive bombers and Corsair fighters of the Fourth Marine Aircraft Wing and Navy Hellcat fighters on June 6 and 7. Runways, coastal gun emplacements, and antiaircraft batteries were principal targets. A Corsair fighter was downed near Mille Atoll on June 7 and its pilot rescued by a destroyer. (Denis Peck)

Canada:    Corvette HMCS Arvida arrived Halifax from work ups in Bermuda.
     Corvette HMCS Regina arrives at Sydney Nova Scotia for a refit.
     Corvette HMCS Lachute is launched at Quebec City. (Dave Shirlaw)

1945:     Japanese Privy Seal Kido today gains the approval of the Emperor on a scheme to mediate peace through the USSR.  This plan features 1) Honorable terms for Japan. 2) Withdrawal from occupied ares at Japan's initiative. 3) Acceptable arms reductions.

The USAAF's Twentieth Air Force in the Mariana Islands flies four missions:
    1. Mission 191: 44 B-29 Superfortresses attack the Kawanishi Aircraft Company's plant at Narao; one other hits a target of opportunity. 
    2. Mission 192: 24 B-29s hit the Kawasaki plant at Akashi; there is 9/10 cloud cover and bombing is by radar; the village of Akashi rather than the factory is hit; two others bomb targets of opportunity.
    3. Mission 193: 42 B-29s hit Aichi's Atsuta factory; only four bombs hit the target area but one causes a devastating fire; one other hits a target of opportunity.
    4. Mission 194: During the night of 8/9 June, 26 B-29s mine Shimonoseki Strait; one other mines an alternate target. Mines previously laid by B-29s sink two Japanese freighters off Japan. (Jack McKillop)

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RAY CHARLES: LOOKING BACK

As his 80th birthday approaches, a look at the life and legacy of the late Ray Charles.


"I just do what I do." That's what Ray Charles told Billboard in June 2002 when asked to assess his role in music history. Of course, Charles' self-effacing response belies a groundbreaking career and a legacy that endures today, as fans look toward celebrating what would have been the legendary artist's 80th birthday Sept. 23. Looking back at Charles' storied career, what comes to mind is the phrase "musical genius." In Charles' case, that's no hype.


Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity


In 1954, the artist's melding of gospel and blues yielded the pioneering hit "I've Got a Woman"-and forged an indelible imprint on R&B, rock and pop. His earthy, soulful voice graced a steady stream of classics after "Woman," including "Drown in My Own Tears," "What'd I Say," "Hit the Road Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "Georgia on My Mind."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "Hit The Road Jack" in São Paulo, Brazil on September 22, 1963.


Video below: Ray Charles performs "Then I'll Be Home" in Montreux, Switzerland on July 19, 1997.


Just as at home on the Hammond B-3 organ as he was on the piano, he also landed at the top of Billboard's R&B, pop, country and jazz charts-and even the dance chart, collaborating with childhood friend Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan on "I'll Be Good to You."

His final recording, 2004's "Genius Loves Company," made history when it won eight Grammy Awards, including album and record of the year for his pairing with Norah Jones on "Here We Go Again."

But what many may not know is that the inimitable Charles was also a genius when it came to the business side of music. In the early '60s he negotiated a rare feat after leaving Atlantic Records to sign with ABC-Paramount: ownership of his own master recordings. He also established his own labels. Tangerine (his favorite fruit) came first, which later evolved into CrossOver Records.

A songwriter who penned nearly 200 songs, Charles also operated his own publishing companies, Tangerine Music and Racer Music. For these entities, Charles and longtime manager Joe Adams designed and built the RPM International office and studios on Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles. The Ray Charles Memorial Library will open in the building this fall.

Charles also found time to manage the careers of other acts, including Billy Preston and '70s R&B group the Friends of Distinction. And way before it was de rigueur for artists to do, Charles set up what became a foundation to help needy children with hearing disabilities and later on support education.


He was an amazing human being," says Jones, 77, who became friends with Charles when both were scrappy teenagers in Seattle. "A true innovator who revolutionized music and the business of music," he adds. "Growing up, we only had the radio; no Michael Jackson, Diddy or Oprah. So it was hard to imagine today's entrepreneurial world. But that didn't stop us. We spent a lot of time talking and dreaming about things that brothers had never done before."

"He really was a genius," says singer Solomon Burke, a former Atlantic labelmate. "He did things the way he wanted."

Charles was born Ray Charles Robinson Sept. 23, 1930, in Albany, Ga. As many learned through actor Jamie Foxx's Academy Award-winning portrayal in the 2004 film "Ray," Charles became blind by age 7 and orphaned at 15 while growing up in northwest Florida.

In eight years at a state school for the blind, the young Charles learned how to read and write music. Leaving Florida in 1947, he headed for Seattle ("Choosing the farthest place he could find from Florida," Jones says), where he notched his first hit two years later as a member of the Maxin Trio, "Confession Blues."

Even then, Charles was an enterprising individual. "He had his own apartment, record player, two pairs of pimp shoes, and here I am still living at home," Jones recalls with a laugh. "His mother trained him not to be blind: no cane, no dogs, no cup. His scuffed-up shoes... that was his guide and driving force. He was the most independent dude I ever saw in my life. Ray would get blind only when pretty girls came around."

Signing with Atlantic Records in 1952, Charles as a West Coast jazz and blues man recorded such songs as "It Should've Been Me" and label co-founder Ahmet Ertegun's composition, "Mess Around."

Then he connected in 1954 with "I've Got a Woman," which set off a chain reaction of more hits capitalizing on his bold gospel/blues fusion. But Charles was just getting started. In 1958, he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, accompanied by a band that featured such jazz cats as saxophonists David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford. Further bucking convention, he recorded "The Genius of Ray Charles," a 1959 release offering standards on one side (including "Come Rain or Come Shine") and big band numbers on the other, featuring members of Count Basie's orchestra and several arrangements by Jones.


Video below: Charles' 1966 Coke commercial, "So Tired."



Leaving Atlantic for ABC-Paramount, a fearless Charles recorded the seminal "Genius + Soul = Jazz" album in 1961. A year later, his earlier dabbling in country music grew serious with the release of the million-selling "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."

Complemented by lush strings and a harmony-rich choir, he scored with covers of Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" and Ted Daffan's "Born to Lose"-and spent 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.




For a black man to do this in 1962 was unheard of," says Tony Gumina, president of the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles the late artist's licensing affairs. "He was trying to sell records to people who didn't want to drink from the same water fountain as him. But this was one of his greatest creative and business moves: to not be categorized musically and cross over. Though he never worried about it, he was resigned to the fact that he might lose some core fans. But he thought he'd gain far more in the process."

Gumina was operating his own promotion company working with state lotteries when he met Charles in 1999. The two teamed up on a series of commercials for various state lotteries and also introduced a line of Ray Charles slot machines also accessible to the blind.

"Everything he did had a business acumen to it," says Gumina, who cites Charles' liaison with manager Adams as a pivotal turning point. Originally hired to be Charles' stage announcer, former radio DJ Adams segued into overseeing production of the singer's shows, lighting and wardrobe.

Together the pair designed and built Charles' L.A. business base, RPM International (Recording, Publishing and Management) studio. When he began recording there in 1965, the label rented the studio from him, so he made money on his recordings before they were even released.

To save money on travel expenses, Charles purchased an airplane to ferry his band around to gigs. A smaller plane was also acquired so that Charles could wing in to, say, New York to record a couple of songs before flying back out in time for a show.

"He understood the entertainment business enough to know that you may not be popular forever," Gumina says, "and you need to maximize your product. At the same time, he had as much fun as any rock star but without the sad money stories. There was a time to work and a time to play, and he knew the difference. He didn't have a bunch of homes or a large entourage. That's why he was able to save $50 million before he died."

Calling Charles an "incredibly smart man," Concord president John Burk says he learned a lot from the ailing singer while he was recording his final studio album, "Genius Loves Company."

Video below: Ray Charles performs "It Ain't Easy Being Green" in Trentnton, NJ on Nov. 7, 2002.


Going through "some sticky deal points, he was amazing," Burk recalls. "He had the whole agreement in his head. Without referencing any material, he knew all the terms we proposed and had the deal done for the album in two discussions."

Creatively, Burk says Charles was an artist dedicated to delivering "a true performance from the heart. Part of his creative legacy was his approach to singing. He opened the door to vocal improvisations, changing how people perceived you could sing a song. Many singers today are influenced by him and they don't even know it."


Rare & Unseen Ray Charles Photos | Charles on the Charts

80th Birthday Year Events | Charles Charity

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