On June 2, 1962, music legend Ray Charles, one of the founding fathers of soul music, earned his third No. 1 hit with his cover of the country classic “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” The crossover track would eventually become the biggest pop hit of his illustrious career.
Executives at ABC Records advised their prized client against his idea to re-record beloved contemporary country songs with his own unique twist. In spite of warnings that he would lose his fans, Charles executed his vision. The landmark album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music gained the already internationally acclaimed artist even more praise by landing the top spot on the Billboard album chart for a staggering 14 weeks and becoming the best-selling album of 1962.
His versions of Don Gibson’s “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and Eddy Arnold's and Cindy Walker’s “You Don’t Know Me” both reached the top 5 on pop and R&B charts, with the former holding the top spot on the singles chart for five weeks.
"He did more for country music than any other living human being,” country great and Charles's friend and collaborator Willie Nelson told CBS shortly after the musician’s passing in 2004.
"He just had a feel for all kinds of music, so his musical talents had no boundaries.”
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(Photo: IBL Bildbyra/Heritage Images/Getty Images)