Year
1962

Ray Charles takes country music to the top of the pop charts

Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, which gave him his third #1 hit in “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” which topped the U.S. pop charts on this day in 1962

Executives at ABC Records—the label that wooed Ray Charles from Atlantic with one of the richest deals of the era—were adamantly opposed to the idea that Charles brought to them in 1962: to re-record some of the best country songs of the previous 20 years in new arrangements that suited his style. As Charles told Rolling Stone magazine a decade later, ABC executives said, “You can’t do no country-western things….You’re gonna lose all your fans!” But Charles recognized the quality of songs like “I Can’t Stop Loving You” by Don Gibson and “You Don’t Know Me,” by Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker, and the fact that his version of both of those country songs landed in the Top 5 on both the pop and

This all-embracing attitude toward music was one that Ray Charles developed during a childhood immersed in the sounds of jazz, blues, gospel and country. To him, the boundaries between those styles of music were made to be crossed, and he made a career out of doing just that. Released over the initial objections of his record label and its distributors, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music went on to be the biggest-selling album of 1962, occupying the top spot on the Billboard album chart for 14 weeks. “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” held the #1 spot on the singles chart for five weeks beginning on this day in 1962, eventually becoming the biggest pop hit of Ray Charles’s monumental career.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

The Indian Citizenship Act

With Congress’ passage of the Indian Citizenship Act, the government of the United States confers citizenship on all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the country.Before the Civil War, citizenship was often limited to Native Americans of one-half or less ...read more

Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II is formally crowned monarch of the United Kingdom in a lavish ceremony steeped in traditions that date back a millennium. A thousand dignitaries and guests attended the coronation at London’s Westminster Abbey, and hundreds of millions listened ...read more

American Civil War ends

In an event that is generally regarded as marking the end of the Civil War, Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of Confederate forces west of the Mississippi, signs the surrender terms offered by Union negotiators. With Smith’s surrender, the last Confederate army ...read more

Babe Ruth retires

On this day in 1935, Babe Ruth, one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, ends his Major League playing career after 22 seasons, 10 World Series and 714 home runs. The following year, Ruth, a larger-than-life figure whose name became synonymous with baseball, was ...read more

English football clubs banned from Europe

On June 2, 1985, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) bans English football (soccer) clubs from competing in Europe. The ban followed the death of 39 Italian and Belgian football fans at Brussels’ Heysel Stadium in a riot caused by English football hooligans at that ...read more

Coolidge signs Indian Citizen Act

On this day in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizen Act, granting automatic American citizenship to Native Americans born in the United States. The law attempted to finalize Indian assimilation into white culture while permitting Indians to retain some of ...read more

Ashley’s fur trappers attacked by Indians

Arikara Indians attack William Ashley and his band of fur traders, igniting the most important of the early 19th century battles between Indians and mountain men.Two years before, William Ashley and his partner Andrew Henry had started the business that would eventually become ...read more

Raymond Carver quits drinking

On this day in 1977, Raymond Carver quits drinking after being hospitalized four times in 1976.Carver, the son of an Oregon sawmill worker and a waitress, had recently established his reputation as a powerful short story writer with his story collection Will You Please Be Quiet ...read more