David Ritz has collaborated with Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, B. B. King, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Smokey Robinson, and Don Rickles. He co-wrote the song Sexual Healing with Marvin Gaye. He received the Gleason Music Book Award four times.
Known as a pioneer in soul music, Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia. As a child, Charles developed glaucoma, an eye disorder that left him blind. He began playing the piano at the age of 3. He learned to compose and arrange music in Braille and to play the piano, clarinet, alto saxophone, organ, and trumpet at the St. Augustine School for Deaf and Blind Children in St. Augustine, Florida. By the time he was in his twenties, Charles had established his own style and original sound. He is credited with almost single-handedly creating soul music by fusing the intensity, inflection, and structures of gospel music, the subject matter of blues, and the horn riffs of jazz. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Charles toured and played to large audiences in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he received the lifetime achievement award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. He has also won 12 Grammy awards. "Georgia on My Mind" and "I Can't Stop Loving You" are among his classics. In addition, Charles has recorded television commercials, many of which he produced himself. His Diet Pepsi advertisement was rated the most memorable commercial of 1991. Charles has also appeared on several television shows, including "Saturday Night Live," "Who's the Boss," and "St. Elsewhere."