Ray Charles and the mighty power of ‘America The Beautiful’

‘The Dick Cavett Show’ welcomed the soulful Ray Charles to perform ‘America the Beautiful’ to open the show. Many would argue that Ray’s version of the song is perhaps the most iconic.

Dick Cavett introduces Ray Charles, saying, “He’s referred to by his fans and his colleagues as just one of the supreme giants of his profession.” Then, Dick introduces Ray’s latest album, “Message from the People.”

Ray sits at a grand piano in front of a red, sparkly curtain. He is wearing white pants and a grayish-blue collared shirt as he taps his foot and begins to play the piano.

Ray has a microphone stand over the piano that he sings into with a slow, gospel groove. He sways in his seat as he sings with a powerful voice. Ray sings, “Oh, beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain.”

‘America the Beautiful’ is an patriotic American song written by Katharine Lee Bates and Samuel A. Ward. The two composers never met with lyrics by Katherine and music by Samuel.

Dick Cavett’s TV career has spanned five decades. His successful interview style has earned him eleven Emmy nominations and three wins. Ray Charles dominated the charts in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to his soulful combination of jazz, blues, and R&B.

Dick walks over to the spotlight shining on Ray, pats him on the back, and goes to commercial as Ray plays along with the band and smiles. It is an incredible performance that stands the test of time as one of the greatest versions ever.

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