"I was born with music inside me. That's the only explanation I know of," Ray Charles wrote in his 1978 autobiography, <I>Brother Ray</I>. "Music was one of my parts...like my blood... Like my blood. It was a force already with me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me, like food or water." As one of the most original American recording artists to emerge in the 20th century, Charles' music got into the blood of generations of admirers as well. His signature soul and R&B sounds-in such definitive Charles hits as "Georgia on My Mind," "You Don't Know Me," "Hit the Road Jack," "Unchain My Heart," "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "What'd I Say"--converged with his personal image as an artist of prodigious talent and infectious good spirits to help him overcome his physical handicap-though that, too, contributed to his enduring and distinctive image as a pop culture icon.