The L.A. recording studios of Ray Charles -- RPM International -- were designated as a historic landmark at a ceremony on Friday (April 30).

The L.A. recording studios of Ray Charles -- RPM International -- were designated as a historic landmark at a ceremony on Friday (April 30).

"Thank you all from my heart," Charles told the audience gathered at the studios. "I'm a little weak now but I'll get stronger." Still recovering from hip surgery, the R&B icon had to be helped to the podium. Known as well for his constant touring, the singer/songwriter hasn't been on the road for a year.

Among those participating in the ceremony were Charles' longtime manager Joe Adams and producer/director/actor Clint Eastwood, who recently worked with Charles on the PBS special "Piano Blues." Additional guests included L.A. Mayor James Hahn, actress Cicely Tyson and biographer David Ritz.

RPM International was designed and built by Charles and Adams in 1964. The 40-year-old South Central Los Angeles facility has served as the recording site for Johnny Cash and Quincy Jones, among other artists.

A collection of duets pairing Charles with Norah Jones, Michael McDonald and others was announced in April. Tentatively slated for release on Aug. 31, the collection is the first project under a partnership between Concord Records and Starbucks' Hear Music brand.

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