Appreciating all that makes America special

“I Can’t Stop Loving You,” by Ray Charles

They say success comes when you zig when others zag. Maybe that's why Ray Charles released this song from his first country album in 1962. Uploaded by

Even now, I have a hard time considering Ray Charles as a country singer. But he released two albums in the early sixties (Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music, and Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Volume Two) that were definitely received by both mainstream and country markets as genuine country records. On the first album, Charles covered a song that had been a hit for Don Gibson in 1957: “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

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It provided Charles his third number one single, following “Georgia on My Mind” and “Hit the Road, Jack.” It wasn’t just a country hit, but also reached number one on the Hot 100, R&B, and Adult Contemporary charts. The AM-radio market being what it was at the time, the 4:13 “album version” had to be edited down to 2:37 for the single. Because everyone knows that people can’t possibly listen to one song for over four minutes!

“I Can’t Stop Loving You” may have come from a country album, but at the 1962 Grammy Awards it won as Best Rhythm & Blues Recording. Rolling Stone ranked the song at number 161 in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and #49 on CMT’s 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music.

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