Ray Charles‘ legacy on the Billboard charts stretches back to 1949, when – as part of the Maxin Trio with G.D. McKee and Milton Garred – he charted his first single with “Confession Blues.” The cut reached No. 2 on what was then called the Most-Played Juke Box Race Records chart.
Since then, Charles has visited the top of Billboard’s pop, country, R&B and jazz charts. And he also had an unlikely No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Songs tally with 1990’s “I’ll Be Good to You,” a collaboration with Quincy Jones and Chaka Khan.
It’s safe to say that no other artist has had as varied and prolific an impact on the Billboard charts as Charles. This recap of Charles’ top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits list is based on performance on the weekly Hot 100. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least.
On the Hot 100, Charles has earned 80 hits between 1958-the year the chart began-and 1990, when “I’ll Be Good to You” became his last Hot 100 single, reaching No. 18. Among all acts, he has charted the third-most singles on the list; only Elvis Presley (with 108) and James Brown (91) have more.
His biggest hit on the Hot 100 is “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” which spent five weeks at No. 1 in 1962. It also ranks as Charles’ top single on this exclusive recap of his biggest Hot 100 hits. His other two Hot 100 No. 1s-“Hit the Road Jack” and “Georgia on My Mind”-rank at Nos. 2 and 4 on the recap, respectively.
Video Below: Ray Charles performs “Hit The Road Jack” in Brazil on Sept. 22, 1963.
On Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, Charles’ impact is just as impressive. He had 86 hits on the chart, including 11 chart-toppers, with “I Can’t Stop Loving You” earning his longest reign at the top (10 weeks).
Charles also snared a No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart in 1985, thanks to a duet with Willie Nelson, “Seven Spanish Angels.” The single appears on Charles’ duets album, “Friendship,” which reached No. 1 on Top Country Albums.
Speaking of country music, Charles’ top Billboard 200 performance is “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music,” which logged 14 weeks atop the chart in 1962.