Note: The MSNBC television clip above, of Ray Charles performing “America The Beautiful,” was apparently used for news coverage of Ray Charles’ passing at age 73 in 2004 (complete with news ticker from that era). While the clip doesn’t capture Ray’s entire performance – which was the closing act of the 1984 Republican National Convention (RNC) nominating the Ronald Reagan/George Bush ticket that year – it does convey the rousing spirit and patriotic fervor that Charles summoned from the convention hall audience with his unique and moving rendition. In the video news clip, meanwhile, some of the insets of the Reagans and the Bushes that flash on the screen during the performance – packaged by the broadcasting network – seem to suggest, by their facial expressions, a bit of befuddlement, though perhaps unrelated and not aimed at the performance, as there was a lot going on at that moment and, no doubt, much on their mind. In any case, Ray’s performance of “America The Beautiful” offered such a rousing and soulful interpretation and delivery, that by song’s end, most delegates throughout the entire hall were up on their feet, singing and swaying. In fact, many who attended that convention often point to the Ray Charles performance as one of the high points.
See also at this website, a longer story about Ray Charles and “America the Beautiful” that covers the song’s history, Ray’s release of the song and how he rearranged the order of the lyrics for a somewhat different emphasis, and Ray’s attendance at the 1984 Republican National Convention, including photos with the Reagans. Other stories on politics at this website can be found at “Politics & Culture” page, and for music, the “Annals of Music” page. Thanks for visiting – Jack Doyle
The source for this video is found on YouTube.
Date Posted: 18 July 2016
Last Update: 18 July 2016
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Jack Doyle, “Ray At 1984 RNC – Singing ‘America’,”
PopHistoryDig.com, July 18, 2016.