*Ray Charles is a music publisher’s dream. Not only did he write songs that stand the test of time, but his interpretations of other songwriters’ tunes could turn them into royalty-generating goldmines.
Charles wrote classics like “What’d I Say?” and made other songwriters’ tunes into hits as well.
His version of “Georgia On My Mind,” written by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrel, went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960, even though it had been recorded by plenty of well-known performers before then.
Besides Charles’ own songwriting, and the tunes he owned through his own music publishing companies, “there are few, if any, recording artists who have impacted publishing houses around the country as has Ray Charles,” says Tony Gumina, president of the Ray Charles Marketing Group, which handles the late artist’s licensing affairs. “If you just look at the 11 different songs where Ray won a Grammy award you’ll find 14 different publishers/co-publishers.”
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