An Opry Salute to Ray Charles | NPT Presents

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An Opry Salute to Ray Charles

NPT presents AN OPRY SALUTE TO RAY CHARLES, a celebration of the songs and influence of the iconic recording artist. Hosted by Grand Ole Opry member Darius Rucker, featuring unique performances of Charles’ music including Boyz II Men, Cam, Brett Eldredge, Leela James, Jessie Key, Ronnie Milsap, Lukas Nelson, LeAnn Rimes, Allen Stone, Travis Tritt, Charlie Wilson, Trisha Yearwood and Chris Young.

AIRED: September 05, 2019 | 1:25:46
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TRANSCRIPT

♪ Georgia

Ray Charles had a very personal relationship with the Opry.

♪ Georgia

Tonight we salute Ray and his music.

♪ Unchain my heart. Unchain my heart ♪

Ray Charles is an American treasure.

♪ I'm moving on

Any amount of soul when I sing is all attributed to Mr. Ray Charles.

♪ It's written all over your lonesome face. ♪

♪Any heartbreak fool can see

Ray Charles was a musical genius can we just say that?

♪ Paradise

I don't think there's anybody that's ever made me feel emotions like Ray Charles.

I love Ray, I love his music and it was important to me

to come to the Opry to celebrate him.

(Singing)

Getting to host the Opry Salutes Ray Charles that's pretty unbelievable.

(Singing)

Welcome to a special night at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville Tennessee.

♪ From sea to shining sea

[rousing jazz music]

[cheers and applause]

Ladies and gentlemen,

welcome to a special night

at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee.

[cheers and applause]

Ray Charles had a very personal relationship

with the Opry.

Tonight, with your help

and of lot of artists onstage,

we join together to honor that bond

and to salute the joy and genius

of Ray and his music.

[cheers and applause]

- I always liked the Grand Ole Opry.

Music from all angles has always impressed me,

so country music, of course,

it might seem strange to some people for me to like it,

but I have to-- I truly have to tell you,

I do love it.

[cheers and applause]

- Please welcome to the stage

Grand Ole Opry member Chris Young

and Boyz II Men.

[cheers and applause]

- All right. Thank you.

[drum sticks clicking] - One, two, three, four.

Hit it.

[band playing slinky plucking music]

- ♪ Oh

- ♪ I'm gonna keep on checking on you ♪

- ♪ Yeah

- ♪ I really got to know everything you do ♪

♪ I'm gonna watch every move you make ♪

♪ I just got to know every step you take ♪

♪ 'Cause your love, baby - ♪ Ooh

- ♪ I said that your love, baby, yeah ♪

- ♪ Ooh

♪ Is so doggone good

- ♪ Hey

♪ Oh, oh

♪ I got to know where you are every day ♪

♪ Oh, yes, I do

♪ 'Cause I don't want you giving what's mine away ♪

♪ Oh

♪ And I've got to know whenever you come, hey ♪

♪ Where it is that you're gonna be coming from ♪

♪ 'Cause your love

- ♪ Ooh

♪ I say that your love, baby

♪ Ooh-ooh

♪ Is so doggone good

♪ Yeah - ♪ Oh

- ♪ Ooh

- ♪ I've got to find a way

♪ To keep

♪ Your good lovin' under lock and key ♪

♪ Maybe, oh, maybe I'll get a carpet ride ♪

♪ Oh, so I could have your good lovin' ♪

♪ Every day and every night

♪ Because your love, oh

♪ Oh

♪ I said, your love

♪ Ooh

♪ So

♪ Doggone good, yeah

- ♪ Yeah - ♪ Oh

- ♪ Oh - ♪ It's so doggone good

♪ Oh, ey

- ♪ Your love, your love, your love ♪

♪ Your love is so doggone good ♪

- ♪ I said that your love is so ♪

♪ So

♪ Whoo-whoo-whoo

- [vocalizing] - ♪ Doggone good

- [continues vocalizing]

♪ Oh - ♪ Oh, your love

- ♪ Oh-oh-oh

- ♪ So doggone good, yeah - ♪ Oh, yeah

- [vocalizing] - ♪ Hey

- ♪ I'm talking, your love

- ♪ So good, so good, so good, so good ♪

♪ Yeah - ♪ Hey

- ♪ Ooh

♪ Yeah

- ♪ Hey

♪ So doggone good, yeah

- ♪ Your love, your love, your love, your love, oh, yeah ♪

♪ Oh, yeah

♪ Hey

[vocalizing] - ♪ Ooh

- Whoo! [cheers and applause]

- Thank you.

[cheers and applause]

male announcer: Please welcome our host

for "An Opry Salute to Ray Charles,"

Grand Ole Opry member Darius Rucker.

[cheers and applause]

- Thank y'all. Thanks, everyone.

How y'all doing? Thank you.

Thank you.

Everybody, let's hear it for Boyz II Men and Chris Young

for starting us off.

That was so soulful.

I mean, that was awesome.

That was awesome.

You guys, I am so honored to be here as your host.

As a member of the Grand Ole Opry,

I am moved to see the Opry recognize Ray Charles

and the magnitude of his contribution to country music.

Both the Grand Ole Opry and Ray Charles

share the same vision: to bridge musical genres.

As we heard Ray say just moments ago,

he loved the Opry.

He couldn't remember a Saturday night when he was a kid

that he didn't listen to the radio show.

I mean, that's awesome.

You know, not a lot of people know this,

but one of his first jobs

was playing in a country music band.

And I think those early experiences grew deep roots

to manifest the revolutionary and timeless, timeless

"Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music."

Ray took folk and country and Western standards,

and he definitely made them his own.

Tonight, I am honored to be joined by country artists,

R&B performers, and soul singers who have come together

to honor the music and life of this remarkable man.

So you guys ready to go on with the show?

Y'all ready to do this?

[cheers and applause] All right.

So please welcome to the stage

a man who calls Ray both a hero and a friend.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Travis Tritt.

[cheers and applause]

- Oh, my goodness.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

It is such an honor

and a privilege to be here tonight...

not only once again at the Grand Ole Opry, which...

I have been such a privileged individual

to be a member of this wonderful establishment

for so many years--

but also to be here tonight

on a night when we are paying tribute

to one of the greatest all-around musicians--

the greatest all-around singers--

that has ever lived, Mr. Ray Charles.

[cheers and applause]

When I was just a little bitty boy growing up in Georgia,

I remember hearing on the radio

one of the singles

that Ray Charles did

from "The Modern Sounds of Country and Western Music."

And as soon as I heard that on the radio,

I wanted my mom or dad to drive me home real quick

so I could get in my bedroom,

which was my studio at the time...

[laughter]

And see if I could sing like he did.

So any amount of soul

that I have in my voice when I sing

is all attributed to Mr. Ray Charles.

[cheers and applause]

[band playing Western music]

♪ Mister engineer, take the throttle in hand ♪

♪ Take me down to that southern land ♪

♪ Keep movin' on - ♪ Keep moving on

- ♪ I'm rolling on

- ♪ Roll on, roll on

- ♪ I'm through with you, too bad you're blue ♪

♪ And I'm moving on

- ♪ Moving on - ♪ Well, the big eight-wheel

♪ Rolling down the track

♪ Means your sweet loving baby ain't coming back ♪

♪ I'm moving on - ♪ Keep moving on

- ♪ Yeah, I'm moving on - ♪ Roll on, roll on

- ♪ You're flying too high for my little sky ♪

♪ And I'm moving on

♪ Oh, yeah! - ♪ Moving on

[lively fiddle solo]

♪ Yeah, someday, baby, when you've had your say ♪

♪ Gonna want your daddy, but your daddy will say ♪

♪ Keep on movin' - ♪ Keep moving on

- ♪ Keep on moving on - ♪ Roll on, roll on

- ♪ Too bad you're blue and I'm through with you ♪

♪ And I'm moving on - ♪ Moving on

[jaunty piano solo]

Go, man, go!

[solo continues]

♪ Well, I want you, baby, from time to time ♪

♪ Just wouldn't listen, paid me no mind ♪

♪ So I'm moving on

- ♪ Keep moving on - ♪ Yes, I'm rolling on

- ♪ Roll on, roll on

- ♪ You've broken the vow, and it's all over now ♪

♪ So I'm moving on - ♪ Moving on

- ♪ Mister fireman, won't you please listen to me ♪

♪ I got a pretty woman down in Tennessee ♪

♪ I'm moving on - ♪ Keep moving on

- ♪ Yes, I'm rolling on - ♪ Roll on, roll on

- ♪ She's fine as can be, she's waiting on me ♪

♪ And I'm moving on

- ♪ Rolling on - All right, my turn.

[jazzy guitar solo]

[closing piano notes]

[vocalizing]

[cheers and applause]

[cheers and applause]

[swelling string music]

female narrator: Ray Charles Robinson

was born in 1930 in Albany, Georgia.

- ♪ Georgia

narrator: Ray Charles lost his eyesight as a child,

which is also when he developed

his unlimited musical vision.

- And it was so impressive to me,

especially just to mash a key and hear a sound.

narrator: Ray studied music at the Florida school

of the deaf and blind.

By the age of 17, Ray was playing with his first band.

- The Florida Playboys was a country group--

played country music.

narrator: Although Ray Charles was the genius of soul,

he truly had a genuine love for country music.

- I decided to do the first country album,

and I discussed it with ABC, which is the company I was on.

They let it be, knowing--

you know, "If it don't kill your career, and if"--

you know, and they said,

"All right, go ahead and do it."

♪ I've made up my mind

narrator: Ray Charles's "Modern Sounds

in Country and Western Music" album

charted a new course in country music.

- ♪ What you got cooking?

- Saw country music leaping about 50 years forward

because of the impact

that Ray Charles was going to have on the industry.

narrator: In 1962,

"Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music"

became his first album to top Billboard 200

and was the first country album

to sell over 500,000 copies.

- ♪ Something up with me

[cheers and applause]

- When our next artist was a teenager,

he was so impressed by Ray's unique ability

to fuse a song with feeling that comes from the soul.

It inspired him to reach people in the same way.

Here to honor Ray, please welcome Brett Eldredge.

[cheers and applause]

[jaunty piano melody]

- You know, the sunglasses were always, like, the iconic thing.

I was like--I'm always like,

"How did he always have the coolest sunglasses?"

And he--he just had that style, and I...

that--no one could recreate that.

I've played the Grand Ole Opry a lot of times,

but never at a moment

where I get to salute to one of my idols, you know what I mean?

Ray Charles is...

is so iconic.

There's only so many artists that come along through...

you know, for hundreds of years,

that can ever even reach the level

that Ray Charles had, and impact a whole

not just genre of music, but all music.

And I grew up singing, you know, some of his songs,

so it's just an amazing experience to be here.

[cheers and applause]

[laughs]

Well, I gotta say, Ray Charles...

I don't think there's anybody

that's ever made me feel emotions

like Ray Charles made me feel emotions,

and as a singer, that's all I ever wanna do,

so this song especially hit me that way.

[slow piano chords playing]

♪ Up in the morning

♪ Out on the job

♪ And I work like the devil

♪ For my pay

♪ I know that lucky old sun

♪ Got nothing to do

♪ But just roll around heaven all day ♪

♪ I fuss with my woman

♪ And I toil for my kids

♪ I sweat till I'm wrinkled

♪ And gray

♪ I know

♪ That lucky old sun

♪ Ain't got nothing to do

♪ But just roll around heaven all day ♪

♪ Dear Lord above

♪ Can't you see I'm pining?

♪ Got tears all in my eyes

♪ Why don't you send out a cloud ♪

♪ With a silver lining

♪ Lift me up

♪ To paradise

[cheers and applause]

♪ Show me that river

♪ Why don't you take me across ♪

♪ And wash all my troubles away ♪

♪ 'Cause I know

♪ That lucky old sun

♪ Ain't got nothing to do

♪ But just roll around heaven all day ♪

♪ Dear Lord above

♪ Can't you see I'm pining?

♪ Got tears all in my

♪ My eyes

♪ Why don't you send down the cloud ♪

♪ With that silver lining

♪ Lift me up

♪ To paradise

♪ Show me that river

♪ Why don't you take me across ♪

♪ And wash all my troubles away ♪

♪ 'Cause I know

♪ That lucky old sun

♪ Ain't got nothing to do

♪ But just roll around heaven all day ♪

♪ He's just-a rollin' around heaven ♪

♪ All day

♪ Oh, rollin' around

♪ Heaven all day

♪ Oh, just-a

♪ Rollin' around heaven

♪ All day

[cheers and applause]

- Ray often brought artists together

across all musical genres,

and great collaborations are a powerful part of his legacy.

And let me tell y'all,

he would've loved this next one.

Please welcome the woman James Brown called

"the goddaughter of soul," Leela James,

singing with country music's most exciting new talents, Cam.

[cheers and applause]

- Hoo-whee.

- Yes.

- This is something else, and we're just getting started.

- It's beautiful, beautiful.

Thank you all for being here this evening.

Give yourself a round of applause.

[cheers and applause]

- I know it means a lot. I've gotten to be on this stage

a lot of times with the old-- the Grand Old Opry,

but I think it's a very special thing to welcome so many

beautiful performers, and especially in the spirit

of someone that's touched so many hearts

like Ray Charles.

- Absolutely. Ray Charles was a musical genius.

Can we just say that?

[cheers and applause]

And he touched the lives of so many

and bridged the gap of so many musical genres

that this is the perfect moment.

And he brought everybody together, so again,

give yourself a round of applause for being out here.

[cheers and applause]

And that's what music is all about.

- It is. - Yes.

I'm just happy to be here. I'm excited.

This is my first time. [squeals]

[both laugh]

So can we sing a song? - Should we do something?

- Yes, let's do something.

- Let's sing something together.

- Y'all gonna clap for us too? Clap your hands.

[band playing rousing music]

- ♪ Don't tell me your troubles, I got ♪

♪ Troubles of my own

♪ And don't tell me your troubles ♪

♪ And just leave me alone, leave me alone ♪

- ♪ Leave me alone - ♪ Go on home

- ♪ Go on home - ♪ Tell it to a friend

- ♪ Talk to a friend - ♪ I got troubles

♪ Of my own

- ♪ You say your sweet thing left you ♪

♪ Well, what you think about me? ♪

♪ I got the same old heartbreak ♪

♪ The same old misery

♪ Leave me alone - ♪ Leave me alone

♪ Go on home - ♪ Go on home

- ♪ Tell it to a friend - ♪ Talk to a friend

- ♪ Got troubles of my own, oh ♪

- ♪ And it happens to the best of us ♪

♪ That's what they always say

♪ Take it, brother, like a man ♪

♪ And don't stand in my way

- ♪ You say your man is no good ♪

♪ He's mean as he can be

♪ It's written all over your lonesome face ♪

♪ Any heartbreak fool can see

♪ Leave me alone - ♪ Leave me alone

- ♪ Go on home - ♪ Go on home

- ♪ Tell it to a friend - ♪ Talk to a friend

- ♪ I got troubles of my own - ♪ Troubles of my own

- ♪ Oh

Come on, come on.

- Yeah! [cheers] - ♪ Hands, now

[saxophone solo]

♪ Clap your hands, now

- ♪ They say it happens to the best of us ♪

♪ That's what they always say

♪ So take it, brother, like a man ♪

♪ And don't stand in my way

- ♪ You tell me that he's no good ♪

♪ He's mean as he can be

♪ It's written all over your lonesome face ♪

♪ Any heartbreak fool can see

♪ Leave me alone - ♪ Leave me alone

both: ♪ Go on home - ♪ Go on home

both: ♪ Tell it to a friend - ♪ Talk to a friend

both: ♪ I got troubles of my own ♪

- ♪ Troubles of my own - ♪ Leave me alone

- ♪ Leave me alone - ♪ Go on home

- ♪ Go on home - ♪ I got troubles of my own

- ♪ Got troubles of my own

- ♪ Leave me alone - ♪ Leave me alone

- ♪ Got troubles of my own

- ♪ Troubles of my own

- ♪ Troubles of my own - ♪ Troubles of my own

- ♪ Tell it to a friend - ♪ Tell it to a friend

- ♪ Tell it to a friend - ♪ Tell it to a friend

- ♪ Tell it to a friend

- ♪ Tell it to a friend, oh - ♪ Tell it to a friend

♪ Leave me alone, lone, lone

♪ Leave me alone, lone, lone

♪ Leave me alone, lone, lone - ♪ Leave me alone

- ♪ Tell it to a friend

♪ I got troubles of my own

♪ Oh, yeah

♪ Mm

- Whoo!

[cheers]

[cheers and applause]

Yeah!

[laughs]

[cheers and applause]

- That was incredible. Absolutely incredible, y'all.

When we invited our next performer

to this evening's salute to Ray,

she decided to sing a song from his last album,

"Genius Loves Company."

And y'all, she's gonna come out here and set the stage on fire.

Ladies and gentlemen, LeAnn Rimes.

[cheers and applause]

- I love Ray. I love Ray, I love his music,

and it was important to me

to come to the Opry to celebrate him

and what his contribution to the music industry, um--

it just--it's pretty amazing the--how boundless it was,

how he blended this soulful artistry

and genius that he was just very naturally,

and did it in every genre.

It didn't--didn't matter what it was.

Um, and some of his biggest hits, of course,

being when he did this whole country vibe thing.

And it was--it's nice to be able to have

the Opry recognize that,

'cause he was just-- he was just a genius.

He really was.

[cheers and applause]

Thank you, thank you.

You know, Ray's spirit and his soul

are what always drew us into his music,

and tonight, that same spirit is here

and it's what drew us here tonight.

And I'm so honored to be a part of this night

and to be honoring him and to be carrying on his legacy,

so thank you very much for being here.

[cheers and applause]

[groovy bass line playing]

♪ Never knew how much I love you ♪

♪ Never knew how much I care

♪ When you put your arms around me ♪

♪ I get a fever that's so hard to bear ♪

♪ You give me fever

♪ When you kiss me, fever when you hold me tight ♪

♪ Fever, mm, in the morning

♪ And a fever all through the night ♪

♪ Sun lights up the daytime

♪ Moon lights up the night

♪ I light up when you call my name ♪

♪ And you know I'm gonna treat you right ♪

♪ You give me fever

♪ When you kiss me

♪ Fever when you hold me tight ♪

♪ Fever

♪ Oh, in the morning, yeah

♪ And a fever all through the night ♪

♪ Everybody's - ♪ Everybody

- ♪ Got the fever - ♪ Got the fever

- ♪ That is something you all know ♪

- ♪ You all know

- ♪ Fever isn't such a new thing ♪

♪ Fever started long ago

♪ Romeo loved Juliet

♪ Juliet, she felt the same

♪ When he put his arms around her ♪

♪ He said, "Julie, baby, you're my flame" ♪

♪ Thou givest fever

♪ When we kisseth, fever with thy flaming youth ♪

♪ Fever

♪ I'm afire, and

♪ A fever, yea, I burn forsooth ♪

[slinky trombone solo]

♪ Captain Smith and Pocahontas ♪

♪ Had a very mad affair

♪ But when her daddy tried to kill him ♪

♪ She said, "No, Daddy, no, don't you dare" ♪

♪ He gives me fever

♪ Mm, with his kisses

♪ Fever when he holds me tight ♪

♪ Fever!

♪ Oh, I'm his missus now

♪ Now, Daddy, won't you treat him right? ♪

[vocalizing]

♪ Now you've listened to my story ♪

♪ Here's the point that I have made ♪

♪ Chicks were born to give you fever ♪

♪ Be it Fahrenheit or centigrade ♪

♪ They give you fever

♪ When you kiss them

♪ Fever if you live and learn

♪ Fever!

♪ Oh, till you sizzle, now

♪ What a lovely way to burn

- ♪ Burn

- ♪ What a lovely way to burn - ♪ Burn

- ♪ What a lovely way to burn

- ♪ Burn - ♪ What a lovely way to burn

- ♪ Burn - ♪ What a lovely way to burn

- ♪ Burn - ♪ What a lovely way

♪ To burn

[cheers and applause]

[cheers and applause]

- Man, how hot was that? That was awesome.

I'm having a blast. Y'all having fun?

This is awesome.

Ray Charles and Willie Nelson were great friends

and has this amazing bond over music and playing chess.

To honor his family, friend, and the brilliance

of that Ray Charles/Willie Nelson duet,

"Seven Spanish Angels,"

please welcome to the stage Willie Nelson's son

Lukas Nelson.

[cheers and applause]

- Hey, thanks.

And thanks, LeAnn. That was hot.

My dad and Ray were real good friends.

In fact, uh, Dad got to attend Ray's last birthday--

his 73rd birthday party.

And Ray had a hit with this song--

a number one--

"Seven Spanish Angels,"

so I'd like to do that for you right now.

[cheers and applause]

[tranquil guitar music]

♪ She looked down into his brown eyes ♪

♪ Whispered, "Say a prayer for me" ♪

[cheers and applause]

♪ She threw her arms around him ♪

♪ Whispered, "God will keep us free" ♪

♪ She could hear the riders coming ♪

♪ She said, "This is my last fight" ♪

♪ If they take me back to Texas ♪

♪ They won't take me back alive ♪

[cheers and applause]

♪ There were seven Spanish angels ♪

♪ At the altar of the sun

♪ They were praying for the lovers ♪

♪ In the valley of the gun

♪ And when the battle stopped and the smoke cleared ♪

♪ There was thunder from the throne ♪

- ♪ Ooh

- ♪ And the seven Spanish angels ♪

♪ Took another angel home

[stirring trumpet solo]

♪ She reached down and picked the gun up ♪

♪ That lay smoking in his hand ♪

♪ She said, "Father, please forgive me" ♪

♪ I can't make it without my man ♪

♪ Oh, she knew the gun was empty ♪

♪ And she knew she could not win ♪

♪ Her final prayers were answered ♪

♪ When the rifles fired again

♪ And those seven Spanish angels ♪

♪ At the altar of the sun

♪ They were praying for the lovers ♪

♪ In the valley of the gun

♪ When the battle stopped and the smoke cleared ♪

♪ There was thunder from the throne ♪

♪ And the seven Spanish angels ♪

♪ Took another angel home

[music strengthens]

♪ There were seven Spanish angels ♪

♪ At the altar of the sun

♪ They were praying for the lovers ♪

♪ In the valley of the gun

♪ When the battle stopped and the smoke cleared ♪

♪ There was thunder from the throne ♪

♪ And the seven Spanish angels ♪

♪ Took another angel home

♪ Ah, there were seven Spanish angels ♪

♪ At the altar of the sun

♪ There were praying for the lovers ♪

♪ In the valley of the gun

♪ When, oh, when

♪ The battle stopped and the smoke cleared ♪

♪ There was thunder from the throne ♪

♪ And the seven Spanish angels ♪

♪ Took another angel home

♪ And the seven Spanish angels ♪

♪ Took another angel

♪ Home

[cheers and applause]

Thank y'all very much.

- Lukas, son, you just did your daddy proud.

Performing for the first time on this historic stage,

R&B legend Charlie Wilson is about to unchain your heart.

[cheers and applause]

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our favorite uncle,

Charlie Wilson!

[cheers and applause]

[playing rapidly]

- ♪ Oh, child

Ray Charles opened so many doors

and broke so many barriers,

and he opened doors for a guy like me.

I've always wanted to sing country music,

and then to be at the Grand Ole Opry--

I've never stepped foot on that stage before,

so my nerves is bundlin' right now.

Ray Charles is an American treasure,

and I am so happy that they are honoring him

and I'm so glad that I'm gonna be a part of it.

[cheers and applause]

Thank you so much.

It's a privilege and an honor

to be not only on a stage,

but on the Grand Ole Opry stage.

This is amazing.

[cheers and applause]

And...

to be able to tribute a guy like Ray Charles.

It's--when I was a little boy--

I was raised in Oklahoma, so it was Tulsa, Oklahoma.

[cheers and applause]

[chuckles]

And I remember watching TV--

now, it's past my bedtime, basically,

it's--TV used to go off at 12:00,

and the last thing you heard was Ray Charles singing

"America the Beautiful."

Okay? And...

and my mom told me to go to bed

when it first started, and I was like, "Who is that?"

She said, "Go to bed."

I said, "Mama, who is that singing?"

She said, "His name is Ray Charles. Now go to bed."

So I faked like I was going to bed,

went to the hallway.

She says, "You in that bed?" I'm like, "Yeah."

And I backed over-- knocked over the vase

that was on the corner of...

almost got a whupping for that, but, uh...

[laughter]

The next time, she allowed me to stay up,

and I did get a chance to meet him,

and he's just a wonderful soul.

But what I want you to do for me tonight--

if you would do this for me

to help me tribute Ray Charles--

I want everybody in this building to get on your feet

right now for me.

I brought my own Raelettes with me.

[cheers and applause]

So...

let me see if you know this one.

[drumsticks clicking] - One, two, three.

[band playing funky jazz]

Let's go. Put your hands together.

Come on.

♪ Yeah

♪ Oh, yeah

♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

♪ Baby, let me be

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ 'Cause you don't care about me ♪

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ You got me sewn up like a pillowcase ♪

- ♪ Ah - ♪ But you let my love

♪ Go to waste, so unchain

♪ My heart, please, please

♪ Set me free

♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Baby, let me go

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ 'Cause you don't love me no more ♪

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Every time I call you on the phone ♪

♪ Some fella tell me that you're not at home ♪

♪ So unchain my heart

♪ Please, please, set me free

♪ I'm under your spell

- ♪ I'm under your spell

- ♪ Like a man in a trance - ♪ Like a man in a trance

- ♪ But I know darn well - ♪ But I know darn well

- ♪ That I don't stand a chance ♪

- ♪ That I don't stand a chance ♪

- ♪ So unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Let me go my way

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart - ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ You worry me night and day ♪

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Why lead me through a life of misery ♪

♪ When you don't care a bag of beans for me? ♪

♪ So unchain my heart

♪ Oh, please, please, set me free ♪

♪ Oh, come on, put your hands to... ♪

♪ Somebody, say yeah

♪ Oh

♪ I'm under your spell - ♪ I'm under your spell

- ♪ Like a man in a trance - ♪ Like a man in a trance

- ♪ But I know darn well - ♪ But I know darn well

- ♪ That I don't stand a chance ♪

- ♪ That I don't stand a chance ♪

- ♪ So unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Let me go my way - ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ You worry me night and day ♪

- ♪ Unchain my heart

- ♪ Why lead me through a life of misery ♪

♪ When you don't care a bag of beans for me? ♪

♪ So unchain

♪ My heart, oh, please, please ♪

♪ Set me free

- ♪ Please set me free

- ♪ Oh, set me free

- ♪ Please set me free

- Shh. [quietly] ♪ Oh, set me free

- ♪ Please set me free

- [quietly] ♪ Oh, set me free

- ♪ Please set me free

- ♪ Oh, set me free

- ♪ Please set me free

- ♪ Oh, set me free

- ♪ Please set me free

- ♪ Yeah, set me free

- ♪ Please set me free

- ♪ Oh, set me free

[cheers and applause]

[cheers and applause]

- Charlie, you just rocked this place.

You knocked the dust off the rafters, man.

That--that was awesome.

My fellow Grand Ole Opry member Chris Young

joins us again to perform one of Ray's biggest country hits,

"I Can't Stop Loving You."

Please welcome back to the stage my Opry brother,

Chris Young!

[cheers and applause]

[cymbal roll]

- Well, there's so many things coming together with tonight.

We are here at the Grand Ole Opry

doing a salute to Ray Charles,

um, which, if you look at not just his impact in music,

but just--even just narrowing it down

to his impact in country music, it's incredible.

Being able to be here-- be a part of that tonight

in a place that has the history of the Grand Ole Opry

and a place where I'm an Opry member--

I'm just so incredibly ecstatic to be here.

Ray, I hope there...

somewhere up there, you're saying--

you know, this is your jacket.

You know, I didn't wanna do the whole thing.

I don't think I could pull off the ruffles,

but, uh--or the bow ties.

Not really my thing.

But I tried to go a little bit out of respect.

[cheers and applause]

So this one's really special for me for a lot of reasons.

One, that I get to be a part of tonight,

saluting the incomparable Ray Charles.

This is just so special.

And, uh...also, this song in particular--

my mom's in the house.

My little sister's in the house.

And...

[cheers and applause]

My grandfather used to play this song all the time,

sitting at the piano before I could play an instrument,

and it was one of the things that really inspired me,

so it's an honor to get to present my version to you guys.

[hi-hat tapping] - One, two, three, four.

[band playing pining Western music]

- ♪ I can't stop loving you

- ♪ I made up my mind

♪ To live in memory

♪ Of the lonesome times

- ♪ I can't stop wanting you

- ♪ It's useless to say

♪ So I'll just live my life

♪ In dreams of yesterday

- ♪ Dreams of yesterday

- ♪ Those happy hours - ♪ Ooh

- ♪ That we once knew

♪ Though long ago

- ♪ Ooh

- ♪ They still make me blue

♪ They say that time

- ♪ Ooh

- ♪ Heals a broken heart

♪ But time has stood still - ♪ Ooh

- ♪ Since we've been apart

- [together] ♪ I can't stop loving you

- ♪ And I've made up my mind

♪ To live in memories

♪ Of the lonesome times

- ♪ I can't stop wanting you

- ♪ It's useless to say

♪ So I'll just live my life

♪ In dreams of yesterday

- ♪ Those happy hours

- ♪ Those happy hours

- ♪ That we once knew

- ♪ That we once knew

- ♪ Though long ago

- ♪ Though long ago

- ♪ Still make me blue

- ♪ Still make me blue

♪ Oh - ♪ They say that time

- ♪ They say that time

- ♪ Heals a broken heart

- ♪ Heals a broken heart

- ♪ But time's stood still

- ♪ Time has stood still

- ♪ Since we've been apart

- ♪ Since we've been apart

- [together] ♪ I can't stop loving you

- ♪ I said, I've made up my mind ♪

♪ To live in memory

♪ Of the lonesome times

- ♪ I can't stop wanting you

- ♪ It's useless to say

♪ And so I'll just live my life ♪

♪ For dreams of yesterday

- ♪ Of yester...

♪ Day

[cheers and applause]

announcer: Ladies and gentlemen,

the host of our show, Darius Rucker.

[cheers and applause]

[bluesy keyboard music]

- Ray Charles was such a big part

of the reason that music is just music to me.

You know? Because I think Ray saw it that way.

I mean, people called it country;

they called it rhythm and blues;

they called it rock 'n' roll; they called it--

Ray just called it music, you know?

And that's-- that's how I see it.

To be here, actually getting to host

the "Opry Salute to Ray Charles."

That's pretty unbelievable.

I'm still just that little kid from South Carolina

that got real lucky, you know?

And--and getting to do this is an honor to me.

[cymbal roll]

[cheers and applause]

[band plays bright music]

- ♪ Girl, you're my sunshine

♪ Chase away the raindrops

♪ Make it all worthwhile

♪ Make all the pain stop

♪ Just like a river

♪ Keep love flowing, yeah

♪ Don't let our world stop

♪ Keep it going

♪ I love you just the way you are ♪

♪ So honey

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me ♪

♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Girl

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Oh

- [together] ♪ Girl, you're my lucky star ♪

- ♪ But honey

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Don't you - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Oh

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ I used to wonder

♪ Where would I find

♪ Oh, some kind of happiness

♪ Some peace of mind

♪ I was living in the darkness ♪

♪ But then you came

♪ Bringing all the sunlight

♪ Easing all my pain

♪ I love you just the way you are ♪

- ♪ Ah - ♪ So honey, don't

- [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Oh

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Baby

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

♪ Oh, girl, you're my lucky star ♪

- ♪ But honey

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Don't you - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Oh, baby

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Yeah

- ♪ If there's a heaven

♪ Then here's my prayer

♪ Girl, I wanna know you

♪ If we should meet there

♪ And then forever

♪ Oh, we'll walk together, now ♪

♪ Nothing but sunshine

♪ No more stormy weather, yeah ♪

♪ Oh, I love you just the way you are ♪

♪ So honey

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Don't you - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Girl

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Oh, girl - ♪ You're my lucky star

- ♪ Yeah, but don't - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Please

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Girl

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Yeah - [together] ♪ I love you

♪ Just the way you are

- ♪ So honey, don't - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Don't you - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Oh

- ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Oh, yeah - ♪ Oh

- [together] ♪ Girl, you're my lucky star ♪

- ♪ But honey, don't - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Don't you - [together] ♪ Change on me

♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Yeah

- ♪ Love you the way you are - ♪ I do

♪ But don't - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Don't you - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Oh - ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Don't change on me, girl - ♪ Oh, girl

♪ You're my lucky star - ♪ I love you like you are

♪ Don't you - [together] ♪ Change on me

- ♪ Oh

- [together] ♪ Don't change on me

- ♪ Oh, baby, don't - [together] ♪ Change on me

[singers vocalizing]

- ♪ Don't you change on me

[singers vocalizing]

- Thank y'all.

Thank you.

[cheers and applause]

announcer: Please welcome Allen Stone and Cam.

[cheers and applause]

- Wow. Cam, you look awesome.

- Well, thanks.

- I'm glad that you dressed up,

because it will avert eyes from me and how nervous I am.

This is my first time at the Grand Ole Opry.

[cheers and applause] - Welcome, welcome.

And as you know, we treat everybody like family here,

so you stand in this circle and you're safe.

Don't you worry. - Oh, I feel better already.

Thank you so much for having me, y'all.

Bless you. - Yeah.

I feel like singing anything from Ray Charles

always reminds me of my childhood.

It makes me feel at home too.

- Yeah, I just think of his smile.

- Yeah. - It's so comforting.

- Ah. You wanna-- - I'm there now.

- Do you wanna do one together? - Let's do it.

"Here We Go Again."

[drumsticks clicking] - ...three, four.

[band playing bluesy music]

- [together] ♪ Here we go again

- ♪ He's back in town again

♪ I'll take him back

♪ Again

♪ One more time

- [together] ♪ Here we go again

- ♪ The phone will ring

♪ Again

♪ And I'll be her fool again

♪ One more time

[cheers and applause]

- ♪ I've been there before

♪ And I will try it again

♪ But any fool knows

♪ There's no way

♪ No way to win

- [together] ♪ Here we go again

- ♪ She'll break my heart

♪ Again

♪ And I'll play the part

♪ Again

♪ One more time

[soulful organ solo]

♪ I've been there before

♪ And I'll try it again

♪ Oh, but

♪ But any fool knows

♪ That there's no

♪ Way to win

- [together] ♪ Here we go again

- ♪ She'll break my heart - ♪ He'll break my heart

- [together] ♪ Again

♪ And I'll play the part

♪ Again

♪ One more time

♪ I'll take her back

♪ Again

♪ One more

♪ Time

- [holds note]

- Yeah! - [laughs]

[cheers and applause]

- Thank y'all.

- I only got one thing to say about that.

Just bravo. That--that was awesome.

[cheers and applause]

This next number has captivated generations of music lovers.

In fact, Ray's version became the Georgia state song.

To perform it for us tonight, please welcome back--

I'm gonna say it--

Boyz II Men!

[cheers and applause]

- Thank you.

Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

How's everybody doing?

Everybody having a good time so far?

[cheers and applause]

All right, well, uh,

just like Darius said, we're about to sing,

I guess you could say, his signature tune--

uh, one of his most famous.

And the beauty about Ray is that he was a musical visionary

in the sense of he wanted to make music

that just brought people together.

He understood that the common thread

of all of us--black, white, young, old, whatever...

[cheers and applause]

Is...

our love for good, beautiful,

sweet, soulful music.

[cheers and applause]

And Ray epitomized all of that.

And again, it is an honor for us

to be here at this legendary venue,

performing this amazing song

by one of the greatest musicians of our time--

of any time.

Thank you and enjoy.

[cheers and applause]

[band playing whimsical piano and string music]

- Take your time.

- [vocalizes softly]

- ♪ Georgia

[cheers and applause]

- [laughs] - ♪ Georgia

♪ The whole day through

- ♪ Ooh

- ♪ Just an old sweet song

♪ Keeps Georgia

♪ On my mind

- ♪ Georgia on my mind

- [vocalizing]

- ♪ I said Georgia

♪ Oh, Georgia

♪ A song of you

- ♪ A song of you

- ♪ Comes as sweet and clear

♪ As moonlight, moonlight

♪ Through the pines

♪ Hey - ♪ Oh, the pines

[vocalizing]

♪ Other arms reach

♪ Out to me

♪ Other eyes smile

♪ Tenderly

♪ Still in

♪ Peaceful dreams

♪ I see

♪ The road

♪ Leads back

♪ To you

- ♪ I said Georgia

♪ Georgia

♪ No peace I find

- ♪ Peace I find

- ♪ Just an old sweet song

♪ Keeps Georgia

♪ On my mind

♪ Hey

- ♪ My mind

- ♪ Other arms

♪ They reach out to me, yeah

♪ Other smiles

♪ Eyes smile so

♪ Tenderly

♪ Still, in peaceful

♪ Peaceful dreams I see ♪

♪ They all lead back

♪ All back to you - [vocalizing]

- ♪ Oh, yeah

- ♪ Georgia - ♪ Oh

- ♪ Georgia

- ♪ Oh, peace

- ♪ No peace, no peace I find ♪

♪ Oh - ♪ No peace I find

- ♪ Just an old sweet song

- ♪ Sweet song - ♪ Ooh

- ♪ Keeps Georgia

♪ On my mind

[vocalizing] - ♪ Georgia

[both vocalizing]

- ♪ Oh, sweet, yeah

- ♪ Oh, sweet Georgia

- ♪ Sweet - ♪ Georgia on

- ♪ Georgia - ♪ Georgia

- ♪ On - ♪ My mind

- ♪ My mind

[all vocalizing]

- Thank you. - [continues vocalizing]

[cheers and applause]

- That just gave me chills, y'all.

Now, our next performer says that,

as a young girl growing up in Georgia,

she fell in love with Ray Charles' soulful voice

the first time she heard it.

Now here to sing one of the classics

from Ray's "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,"

please welcome Grand Ole Opry member and my Opry sister

Trisha Yearwood.

[cheers and applause]

- Thank you very much. Thank you.

Thank you, Darius.

Thank you very much.

I am honored tonight to be a part

of the Grand Ole Opry's tribute to Ray Charles.

It is very fitting.

I feel so lucky, because I was a girl

who had the opportunity to actually hear Ray sing live

a couple of times in my life,

and as wonderful as he sounds on record,

live was just something otherworldly.

When he released his album

"Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music"--

that's a long title-- he brought a whole new group

of people to country music

who probably had not listened to it before

and really, really did just had that thing

of "love one another," right?

This was about all genres coming together,

and so I'm so honored to be here tonight

to sing a song from that album--

a song written by Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker

called "You Don't Know Me."

- One, two, three, four.

[band playing soulful Western music]

- ♪ Ooh, you don't love me

♪ Ooh, you don't know me

- ♪ You give your hand to me

♪ And then you say hello

♪ And I can hardly speak

♪ My heart is beating so

♪ And anyone can tell - ♪ Oh, oh

- ♪ You think you know me well ♪

♪ But you don't know me

- ♪ No, you don't know me

- ♪ No, you don't know the one ♪

♪ Who dreams of you at night

♪ And longs to kiss your lips

♪ And longs to hold you tight

♪ Oh, I'm just a friend

♪ That's all I've ever been

♪ 'Cause you don't know me

- ♪ You don't know me

- ♪ For I never knew

♪ The art of making love

♪ Though my heart aches with love ♪

♪ For you

♪ Afraid and shy

♪ I let my chance go by

♪ The chance that you might love me too ♪

- ♪ Love me too

- ♪ You give your hand to me

♪ And then you say good-bye

♪ And I watch you walk away

♪ And in my heart, I cry

♪ You'll never, never know

- ♪ The one - ♪ The one who loves you so

♪ Well, you don't know me

- ♪ For I never knew

♪ The art of making love

♪ Though my heart

♪ Aches with love for you

- ♪ Afraid and shy

♪ I let my chance go by

♪ The chance that you might love me too ♪

- ♪ Love me too - ♪ You give your hand to me

♪ And then you say good-bye

♪ And I watch you walk away

[singers vocalizing] ♪ And in my heart, I cry

♪ You'll never, never know

♪ The one who loves you so

♪ Well

♪ You don't know me

- ♪ You don't love me

♪ You don't know me

[cheers and applause]

[cheers and applause]

- See, that's what I love about hanging out at the Opry.

You never know who you're gonna be hanging out with.

Ladies and gentlemen, Opry member, legend...

Mr. Ronnie Milsap!

[cheers and applause]

Now, Ronnie, I know

the lovely Jesse Key is gonna be joining you in a second,

but I can imagine you have some great Ray stories.

- Oh, love Ray Charles. - [laughs]

- Well, tell us about it.

- And he and I were very much in agreement

that, to protect braille literacy...

we'd write each other letters in braille.

Imagine that.

[cheers and laughter]

It was fun.

And I'm about to sing this song.

I remember how I was a freshman

at Young Harris College...

that's the same college that Trisha Yearwood went to.

How about it for Trisha?

Boy, she's the real deal, isn't it?

I woke up and I heard this song in the morning

and I thought, "What a way to start the day."

Hey, Jamie, why don't you guys get this going?

[drumsticks clicking] - One, two, three, four.

[band playing lively music]

- ♪ The other night

♪ As I lay sleeping

♪ Oh, I dreamed I held you

♪ I held you in my arms

♪ Oh, but when I woke up this morning ♪

♪ I found that I was mistaken

♪ Don't you know, I hung my head ♪

♪ I hung my head and cried

♪ Whoa, you are my sunshine

- ♪ You are my sunshine - ♪ My only sunshine

- ♪ My only sunshine

- ♪ You make me happy - ♪ You make me happy

- ♪ When my skies are gray

- ♪ When skies are gray

- ♪ Whoa, you'll never know

- ♪ You'll never know, dear

- ♪ How much I love you

- ♪ How much I love you

- ♪ I don't want you to take

- ♪ Don't take my sunshine

- ♪ My sunshine away - ♪ Shine away

- Do it!

[rousing saxophone solo]

Boy, they're good.

Yeah!

Here we go.

- ♪ You told me once, dear

♪ That you really love me

- That's right.

- ♪ And no one else

♪ Could ever come between

- Yeah! - ♪ Uh-huh

♪ But now you left me, yes, you did ♪

♪ And you love another, oh, Lord ♪

♪ And you have shattered

♪ Oh, yeah, all of my dreams

- ♪ Oh, you are my sunshine

- ♪ You are my sunshine

- ♪ My only sunshine

- ♪ My only sunshine

- ♪ Ooh, girl, you make me happy ♪

- ♪ You make me happy - ♪ When my skies are gray

- ♪ When my skies are gray

- ♪ Oh, you'll never, never know ♪

- ♪ You'll never know, dear - ♪ How much I love you

- ♪ How I really love you, Lord ♪

- ♪ I don't want you to take

- ♪ Don't take my sunshine

- ♪ Now, if you love me

- ♪ Don't take my sunshine

- ♪ And if you need me

- ♪ My, my, my sunshine - ♪ Don't take my sunshine

- ♪ If you want me - ♪ Don't take my sunshine

- ♪ Oh - ♪ Oh, please

♪ Don't take it, baby - ♪ My sunshine

- ♪ Don't want you to take

- ♪ Don't take my sunshine

- ♪ Oh, don't go taking - ♪ Don't take my sunshine

- ♪ Take it, don't take it

- ♪ Don't take my sunshine

- ♪ Shine - ♪ Shine

- ♪ A... - ♪ Oh

Love y'all. - ♪ ...way

- Love for Ray Charles. God bless you, Ray.

I love you, wherever you are.

I love you, Ray, wherever you are.

[cheers and applause]

[jazzy piano tune]

[harmonica and piano music]

- I just started taking my music

and singing it the way I felt.

narrator: And in 1962,

Ray Charles felt like singing country music.

And the country music family welcomed him with open arms.

- Here's an authentic American musical genius:

Mr. Ray Charles.

narrator: Throughout his career,

Ray Charles made several appearances on "Hee Haw."

- After ten long years,

to welcome you back to "Hee Haw."

- Uh, "Hee Haw"?

I thought this was the Grand Ole Opry.

Hey, y'all get me out of here. [laughter]

- Wait a minute. narrator: Ray Charles created

a new fan base,

with both the country music fans

and country music stars.

He shared the stage with many country music artists

and country music pioneers.

- And I'd like to say just a few words

about this man sitting over here next to me.

Uh, you are sitting next to me, aren't you, Ray?

narrator: In 1967, he performed "Crying Time"

on "The Best on Record," a TV special commemorating

the ninth Grammy Awards, making his Grammy stage debut.

- [together] ♪ Oh, it's crying time again

- I was lucky, you know,

with the director on these albums, really.

I had free reign.

All I was doing was being myself.

None of them told me what to do

or how to do it.

[cheers and applause] - Oh, yes!

[nostalgic piano melody]

announcer: Please welcome back to the stage

LeAnn Rimes and Charlie Wilson.

[cheers and applause]

- [together] ♪ Oh, it's

♪ Crying time again

♪ You're gonna leave me

♪ I can see that faraway look in your eyes ♪

♪ I can tell by the way

♪ You hold me, darling

♪ That it won't be long before it's ♪

♪ Crying time

- ♪ Now, they say that absence ♪

♪ Makes the heart grow fonder - ♪ Ooh

- ♪ Fonder

- ♪ And that tears are only made ♪

♪ To love grow

♪ Well, my love for you

♪ Could never grow stronger

- ♪ Stronger

♪ If I live to be 100 years old ♪

- ♪ Ooh, ooh

- [together] ♪ Oh, it's crying time again

♪ You're gonna leave me

- ♪ Leave me

- [together] ♪ I can see that faraway

♪ Look in your eyes

- ♪ In your eyes

- [together] ♪ I can tell by the way

♪ You hold me, darling

- ♪ Oh

- [together] ♪ That it won't be long

♪ Before it's crying time

- ♪ Oh, yeah

- ♪ Now you say you've found someone ♪

- ♪ Ooh, ooh

- ♪ You love better

- ♪ Better

- ♪ That's the way it's happened ♪

♪ Every time before

♪ And as sure as the sun comes up tomorrow ♪

- ♪ 'Morrow

- ♪ Crying time will start when you walk ♪

♪ Out the door

- ♪ Ooh, ooh

- [together] ♪ Oh, it's crying time again ♪

♪ You're gonna leave me

- ♪ Leave me

- [together] ♪ I can see that faraway look ♪

♪ In your eyes

- ♪ In your eyes

- [together] ♪ I can tell by the way you hold me, darling ♪

- ♪ Oh - ♪ Yeah

- [together] ♪ That it won't be long

♪ Before it's crying time

♪ That it won't be long

♪ Before

♪ It's crying

♪ Time

[cheers and applause]

[energetic keyboard music]

- All my life, I just always loved music.

narrator: Ray Charles Robinson--

the high priest, the genius of soul--

created and left a footprint

on all the genres of American music

by defining his successful musical career

by knowing exactly who he was.

- I am not a blues singer.

- ♪ Whoa, yes, if you...

I am not a jazz singer.

I am not a country singer.

♪ Well...

What I am is, I am a singer that can sing the blues,

sing jazz, and sing country.

narrator: Ray Charles was honored and decorated

for his many outstanding contributions

to the music industry.

- I won the Kennedy Center Award,

the B'rith Award, the state song of Georgia,

I got a big band to play at Carnegie Hall,

I won all kinds of Grammys,

keys to the city, all kinds of decorations,

the medal of France--

they've given my music the highest praise.

I certainly appreciate the compliment.

narrator: The powerful message

of Ray Charles Robinson continues

to be a driving force in today's society,

not only through his music,

but through the Ray Charles Foundation.

- If it could be said,

when all is said and done, that I was sincere in my music,

that would be enough for me.

♪ Set me free

- Wow, what a great night. Did you guys have fun tonight?

[cheers and applause] What a great night.

What an amazing night we've had

right here on the Grand Ole Opry stage

as the Opry salutes Ray Charles.

Thanks to all our special guests--

Boyz II Men, Cam, Brett Eldredge,

Leela James, Jessie Key,

Ronnie Milsap, Lukas Nelson,

LeAnn Rimes, Allen Stone, Travis Tritt,

Charlie Wilson, Trisha Yearwood,

and Chris Young.

[cheers and applause]

And of course, our music directors

Michael Bearden and Steve Gibson;

the incredible house band

and the very talented backup singers,

our own Raelettes.

Y'all are awesome.

[cheers and applause]

And now, what better way to end our show

than with an uplifting message of unity?

You know, and it was Ray's iconic version of this song

that made it come alive to all of America.

Thank y'all for tonight.

♪ Oh, beautiful

♪ For heroes proved

♪ In liberating

♪ Strife

♪ Oh

♪ Who more

♪ Than self

♪ Their country loved

- ♪ And mercy more

♪ Than life

♪ America

[cheers and applause] ♪ America

♪ May God thy gold

- Yeah! - ♪ Refine

♪ Till all success

♪ Be nobleness

♪ And every

♪ Gain divine

♪ Oh

- ♪ Oh, beautiful - Sing it.

- ♪ For spacious skies

♪ For amber

♪ Waves of grain

- Whoo!

- [together] ♪ For purple mountain

♪ Majesties

♪ Above the fruited

♪ Plain

- ♪ Oh, America

- ♪ America

- ♪ God shed His grace

♪ On thee

♪ Mm

♪ Oh - ♪ And crown thy good

♪ With brotherhood

- ♪ From sea to shining

♪ Sea

- ♪ America

♪ America

- [together] ♪ God shed His grace ♪

♪ On thee

all: ♪ And crown thy good

♪ With brotherhood

♪ From sea to shining

♪ Sea

♪ Oh, and crown thy good

♪ With brotherhood

♪ From sea to shining - ♪ Shining sea

all: ♪ Sea

- ♪ Oh, Lord

♪ Oh, yeah

♪ Shining

♪ Sea - ♪ Ooh

[cheers and applause]

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