Jun 2, 1962 CE: Ray Charles Tops the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for the Third Time

Jun 2, 1962 CE: Ray Charles Tops the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for the Third Time

On June 2, 1962, Ray Charles’s version of the country ballad “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” into which he infused elements of soul, jazz, and pop, reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.


5 - 11


Arts and Music


Ray Charles

Black-and-white photo of Ray Charles.

Photograph by Eric Koch, courtesy Nationaal Archief (Netherlands). This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Netherlands license.
Black-and-white photo of Ray Charles.

On June 2, 1962, Ray Charles topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the third time with “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” The song was the biggest hit off his groundbreaking crossover album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Charles was already a music star, nicknamed “the Genius,” when he decided to record an album of country music. At the time, the civil rights movement in the United States was underway and racial strife widespread. Charles was Black, and the country music industry—its artists and fans alike—were largely white. Charles made Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, blending country, soul, jazz and pop, even though executives at his record company discouraged him from making a country album. Charles emphasized his unique style in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, saying, "When I sing 'I Can't Stop Loving You,' I'm not singin' it country-western. I'm singin' it like me." Nonetheless, other musicians praised Charles for advancing the genre. Country star Willie Nelson said Charles “did more for country music than any other living human being.”

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

January 26, 2024

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. They will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to them, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.


If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.


Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.


Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.

Related Resources