January 1986: Ray Charles Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Ray Charles
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CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

34 years ago, "Brother Ray" Charles, the genius who gave the world Grammy award winning "Hit the Road Jack" and three-million-selling single "I Can't Stop Loving You" was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

From his first gold record "What'd I Say" during the summer of 1959 to his rendition of "Georgia" that brought the song to national prominence, Charles' span of classics during his 26 years in the business established him as one of the greats within his 40 albums.

Though he dabbled in a breadth of genres, from R&B to freeform jazz, he was recognized for his contributions in influencing the rock 'n roll sound in the 1950's, electing him for Rock Hall induction in '86. 

During his iconic induction, co-founder of Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun introduced Charles to the stage, sharing that his introduction to Charles began with his song "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand," which immediately caught Ertegun's attention and promptly resulted in Charles' record deal with Atlantic. 

After a mere three sessions working with Charles in the studio, Ertegun honored the singer as remembered, "He was not only teaching me about music, but he was showing me how to make records."

Following Ertegun's words of praise, Quincy Jones took to the stage next to continue celebrating Charles' legacy, as he described, "a man that's been my friend - who's also been a genius - for 38 years, a man who's filled my head and heart with soul or rock 'n roll, whatever you want to cal it," before he welcomed Charles to the spotlight. He added, "I'm gonna tell it like it is," as Charles came forward, to which Charles quipped, "Well, not all of it!"

As Charles joined the iconic pair onstage, he took ahold of the microphone, reminiscing on how he first met Jones, "a very special man," and performed at Washington Social (and Educational, he joked) Club." He continued his humorous, yet heartfelt appreciation of his induction, sharing "Had it not been for the people who listened to my music and loved it, this could have never happened to be, so I just want to take this moment to say thank you very much."

Watch the full moment below.  

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