On June 2, 1962, Ray Charles earned his third #1 single, “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” The song was the first hit from his groundbreaking album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
 
Charles was already a music star, nicknamed “the Genius,” when he decided to record an album of country music. At the time, the civil rights movement was encountering opposition and violence across the United States, and country music was dominated by white artists associated with the South. Both country and soul musicians encouraged Charles not to integrate musical styles from different genres. Charles ignored them, saying “There's only two kinds of music as far as I'm concerned: good and bad.” Eventually, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music not only incorporated elements from country and soul, but jazz and rock as well.
 
Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music became Charles’ first album to top the charts, and inspired generations of artists from all genres of music. Rolling Stone magazine ranks the album among the best of all time, and country music legend Willie Nelson says Ray Charles “did more for country music than any one artist has ever done.”
civil rights movement
Noun

(~1954-1968) process to establish equal rights for all people in the United States, focusing on the rights of African Americans.

dominate
Verb

to overpower or control.

encounter
Verb

to meet, especially unexpectedly.

encourage
Verb

to inspire or support a person or idea.

generation
Noun

group in a species made up of members that are roughly the same age.

genius
Noun

very intelligent person.

genre
Noun

category of art.

groundbreaking
Adjective

innovative or pioneering.

incorporate
Verb

to blend or bring together.

inspire
Verb

to influence to act.

integrate
Verb

to combine, unite, or bring together.

opposition
Noun

group opposing, criticizing, or protesting another, usually larger or more well-known, group.

South
Noun

loosely defined geographic region largely composed of states that supported or were sympathetic to the Confederate States of America (Confederacy) during the U.S. Civil War.

violence
Noun

acts that cause physical harm to another person.