Monday, November 05, 2007

Monumental Soundbyte - 69

Ray Charles - What'd I say

This timeless song was recorded in 1959. I cant believe that this song is that old. I love, love this song. I love Ray Charles and this song is one of my favorites. Its also a controversial song and those that have seen Ray might remember why.

Ray Charles is/was a genius. This song is essentially an improv song. The story goes that after Ray had finished a set in some city in the US, he was told he had another 12 minutes to go. And of course, in those days - money changed hands and you had to deliver till the last second. So Ray starts doing his thing on the piano and tells his backing band and background singers to go with him and there you go. In between the words, there is a call and response part (audience participation) but the kicker ---- this part was all about the sounds of making love. Not dirty and explicit like the way it is today but back then - pretty racy stuff. It is this part of the song that created all the controversy. The song is also over 6 minutes long and this was also a concern to his record label and radio jocks alike. You have to remember that back then, singles were 2:30 at the max...

The record label creatively split the song into 2 parts and the rest is history. Like all great songs, it has ben covered by a ton of artists including Etta James (who will make my list), Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Bobby Darin, Roy Orbison etc.

Rolling Stone also ranks this song 10th on its list of 500 greatest songs of all time.


1 comment:

The Last King Of Scotland said...

great great song. ray charles has his own genre. period