Usher, Norah Jones, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige and Elton John will lead an all-star tribute to Ray Charles on October 8th at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. The event, dubbed “Genius: A Night to Remember,” will air on CBS later that month.
Actor and comedian Jamie Foxx — who stars in the Charles biopic, Ray, which hits theaters October 29th — will host, alongside presenters Quincy Jones, Mos Def and Bruce Willis. Demonstrating Charles’ influence over many musical genres, other performers will range from soul veteran Al Green and country star Reba McEntire.
Ray Charles died of cancer on June 10th at the age of seventy-three. Blind by the age of six and an orphan from a young age, Charles earned his way as a musician for hire, touring with various blues bands throughout his teens. At the age of twenty-one, he scored his first Top Ten hit on the R&B charts, “Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand,” and went on to top the pop charts in the late Fifties with “What’d I Say.” He went on to win twelve Grammys and was enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
A touring artist until the end, Charles had been planning to hit the road again just months before his death.