August 24, 2018

Ray Charles’ “I Can’t Stop Loving You” was a Tremendous Hit

Ray Charles' "I Can't Stop Loving You" was a Tremendous Hit 1
Ray Charles | Photo credit:

When Ray Charles’ name is mentioned, the first things we could think about him are his blues and gospel songs. But, Charles tried to defy complacency when it comes to his music. As such, the famed singer continued to innovate his music offerings in an attempt to satisfy his fans completely. Thus, Charles embarked on recording country and western songs in the early 1960s. Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music was his first-ever project in his new music genre. Such was the result of his selections from 150 classic songs that his producer, Sid Feller, provided him. Included on this album was Charles’ cover of the classic ballad “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” On the first month of the album’s release, the record reached a tremendous success having sold about 700,000 copies.

Ray Charles’ Version

Initially, Charles’ version was not released as a single. However, it continuously gained popularity as many DJs kept on playing the song on air. Meanwhile, Tub Hunter recorded a cover and it was released shortly as a single. This angered Charles’ camp and quickly made some modifications on his album version so it can be released as a single. Such release came along with a huge promotional campaign. Be it due to this advertising or simply because it’s Ray Charles who sang it, the cover of “I Can’t Stop Loving You” became a smash hit. The song went on to top not just one but three different music charts namely the Pop, R&B, and Easy Listening charts. Remembering the song as one of those he often heard at the Grand Ole Opry made Charles chose to record “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” It was indeed a great decision made by him. Additionally, the song gave Charles his third Grammy Award win in 1962. His first two previous records that held the same title were Georgia on My Mind” and “Hit the Road Jack.”

“You take country music, you take black music, it’s exactly the same thing,” Charles said about the song’s success.

Additional Song Facts

It was the country singer Don Gibson who penned the tune “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” He likewise recorded the song in 1958. The original version was the B-side of Oh, Lonesome Me” which he wrote at the same time with “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Later in 1958, Gibson’s fellow country singer Kitty Wells recorded a cover of his song. Her version was as successful as that of Gibson’s. Both records entered the charts at the time. Following Gibson’s death in 2003, numerous other artists adapted and recorded the song. Here is Well’s version of “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

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Don Gibson, i can't stop loving you, kitty wells, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Ray Charles

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