Starbucks Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company
He was one of the most influential American musicians in history. An exceptional musical talent with perfect pitch, he mastered piano and saxophone in his youth and was a traveling teen musician.
By the time he was 30, he had earned the moniker of “The Genius” for the way he could break down the walls of traditional musical genres – bringing gospel and R&B together to create soul music and later connecting soul and country. Even Frank Sinatra is reported to have said, “Ray Charles is the onlygenius.”
Charles performed more than 10,000 concerts, and starred on over 100 albums, many of them top sellers in a variety of musical genres. He was recognized for his tremendous influence over popular music with the President’s Merit Award, National Medal of Arts, Kennedy Center Honors and was one of the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2004, after more than five decades of music, Charles signed on to a groundbreaking project with Starbucks and Concord Records. At a time when duet albums were not commonplace, Charles was paired with legendary guest artists including Norah Jones, Diana Krall, James Taylor, Elton John, Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt.
“Each person who Ray selected to do a duet with brought out so much,” said Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz. “The diversity of the music – the unbelievable talents of Ray Charles – it was extraordinary.”
The landmark album, Genius Loves Company, was released two months after Charles’ death on June 10, 2004 at age 73. The album had an extraordinary, game-changing effect on both his musical legacy and the music industry. It went on to receive eight GRAMMY® Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year and was certified multi-platinum with worldwide sales of more than five million copies.
“It took a lot of people to believe in the record, believe in Ray, believe in the opportunity,” Schultz said. “They did heroic things to make it happen.”
Starting September 30, participating Starbucks stores in the U.S. will offer the 10th anniversary reissue of the album with the two-disc Genius Loves Company Deluxe Edition. The edition includes the full-length album, bonus tracks and special packaging along with new one-hour behind-the-scenes documentary on DVD.
Genius Loves Company Deluxe Edition Track Listing
- “Here We Go Again” (with Norah Jones)
- “Sweet Potato Pie” (with James Taylor)
- “You Don’t Know Me” (with Diana Krall)
- “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” (with Elton John)
- “Fever” (with Natalie Cole)
- “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?” (with Bonnie Raitt)
- “It Was a Very Good Year” (with Willie Nelson)
- “Hey Girl” (with Michael McDonald)
- “Sinner’s Prayer” (with B.B. King)
- “Heaven Help Us All” (with Gladys Knight)
- “Over the Rainbow” (with Johnny Mathis)
- “Crazy Love” (with Van Morrison)
- “Unchain My Heart” (Take 6)
- “Mary Ann” (with Poncho Sanchez)