Genius Loves Company

Genius Loves Company is the final studio album by rhythm and blues and soul musician Ray Charles, posthumously released August 31, 2004, on Concord Records.[1] Recording sessions for the album took place between June 2003 and March 2004.[2] The album consists of rhythm and blues, soul, country, blues, jazz and pop standards performed by Charles and several guest musicians, such as Natalie Cole, Elton John, James Taylor, Norah Jones, B.B. King, Gladys Knight, Diana Krall, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt. Genius Loves Company was the last album recorded and completed by Charles before his death in June 2004.

Genius Loves Company
Studio album by Ray Charles
Released August 31, 2004
Recorded June 2003–March 2004
Genre Rhythm and blues, soul, country, blues, jazz, pop
Length 54:03
Label Concord/Hear Music
Producer John Burk
Phil Ramone
Ray Charles chronology
Strong Love Affair
(1996)Strong Love Affair1996
Genius Loves Company
Singles from Genius Loves Company
  1. "You Don't Know Me"
    Released: September 18, 2004
  2. "Here We Go Again"
    Released: 2005

The album was produced by Concord A&R man, John Burk, who approached Charles with the concept of a duets album for a collaboration of Concord Records and Hear Music, the record label owned by the coffee chain Starbucks.[3] It served as the first original non-compilation release by Hear Music,[3] as well as one of Ray Charles' most commercially successful albums. On February 2, 2005, Genius Loves Company was certified triple-platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America following sales of over three million copies in the United States.[4] On February 13, 2005, the album was awarded eight Grammy Awards including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. The cover featured an iconic image by photographer Norman Seeff. The Album of the Year award was presented to coproducer John Burk, who accepted on behalf of himself and coproducer Phil Ramone. (Ramone could not make the trip to Los Angeles for the Grammy ceremony.)


Professional ratings
Review scores
Robert ChristgauA−[6]
The Daily VaultA−[7]
Entertainment Weekly(C)[8]
Rolling Stone[12]
USA Today[13]
Western CourierB+[14]

Commercial performance

Genius Loves Company proved to be a comeback success for Ray Charles, in terms of sales and critical response, quickly becoming his first top-10 album in forty years and the best-selling record of his career.[15][16] The release of Genius Loves Company served as Charles' two-hundred fiftieth of his recording career, as well as his last recorded effort before his death on June 10, 2004.[17]

Within its first week of release, the album sold over 200,000 copies in the United States alone,[18] while it debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart, eventually ascending to #1 on March 5, 2005, becoming Charles' first #1 album since Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music in 1962.[1] Genius Loves Company also received a significant amount of airplay on jazz, blues, R&B, urban contemporary and country radio stations, as well as critical praise from well-known publications and music outlets.[17] By the first month of its release, the album had shipped over two million copies in the United States and shipped more than three million worldwide, receiving gold, silver and platinum certifications across North America, Europe and several other regions.[17] The massive commercial success of the album (over 5.5 million copies were sold worldwide up to 2007)[19] was attributed in part to it being distributed and promoted via Starbucks coffeehouses,[3] as well as the distribution and marketing relationship between Concord Records and the Starbucks Hear Music label.[17] The Starbucks Coffee Company proved to be singularly responsible for nearly thirty-percent of the total domestic sales of the album. Following several certifications of gold, platinum and multi-platinum in the United States during the fall of 2004, Genius Loves Company earned a triple-platinum sales certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 2, 2005.[4]

For the week ending September 18, 2004, Genius Loves Company sold 202,000 copies, ranking second on the Billboard 200. This was Charles' highest charting album in over 40 years and represented an opening week record for a duets album (since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking such statistics in 1991). Frank Sinatra's 1993 Duets sold 339,000 during the Christmas week, eight weeks after its 173,500-unit opening. The initial shipment of 733,000 units was an all-time record for the 31-year history of Concord Records and the sales represented a Soundscan record for the company.[20] In addition, the album placed at number five on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Charles' highest placement since A Portrait of Ray peaked at fifth in 1968.[21] These albums sales occurred despite digital singles sales that saw 12 of the 13 tracks on the album make the Hot Digital Tracks Top 50 chart. The previous record for most tracks from the same album was 9 by Neil Young & Crazy Horse with their 2003 Greendale album. "Here We Go Again" was the download sales leader among the album's tracks, but the 12 tracks totaled 52,000 digital downloads.[22][23]

Grammy Awards

In December 2004, announcements were made that the album had earned ten Grammy Award nominations.[24] At the 47th Grammy Awards on February 13, 2005, Genius Loves Company led the annual ceremony with a total of eight awards, including Album of the Year, while its hit single "Here We Go Again" won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Awards won are as listed below:[25]

  • Grammy Award for Album of the Year: John Burk, Phil Ramone, Herbert Waltl, Don Mizell (producers), Terry Howard (producer & engineer/mixer), Robert Fernandez, John Harris, Pete Karam, Joel Moss, Seth Presant, Al Schmitt, Ed Thacker (engineers/mixers), Robert Hadley, Doug Sax (mastering engineers)
  • Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album: Ray Charles and various artists
  • Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: Robert Fernandez, John Harris, Terry Howard, Pete Karam, Joel Moss, Seth Presant, Al Schmitt & Ed Thacker (engineers)
  • Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album: John Burk (Producer), Al Schmitt (surround mix engineer), Robert Hadley & Doug Sax (surround mastering)
  • Grammy Award for Record of the Year: John Burk (producer), Terry Howard, Al Schmitt (engineers/mixers), Ray Charles & Norah Jones for "Here We Go Again"
  • Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals: Ray Charles and Norah Jones for "Here We Go Again"
  • Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals: Ray Charles and Elton John for "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" (nominated)
  • Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance: Ray Charles & Gladys Knight for "Heaven Help Us All"
  • Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): Victor Vanacore (arranger) for "Over the Rainbow" performed by Ray Charles & Johnny Mathis

Track listing

In UK, this album was also published as LP record, where track 1 to 7 were on side A and the rest of tracks were on side B [26].

1."Here We Go Again" (with Norah Jones)Don Lanier, Red Steagall3:59
2."Sweet Potato Pie" (with James Taylor)James Taylor3:47
3."You Don't Know Me" (with Diana Krall)Eddy Arnold, Cindy Walker3:55
4."Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" (with Elton John)Elton John, Bernie Taupin3:59
5."Fever" (with Natalie Cole)Eddie Cooley, John Davenport3:30
6."Do I Ever Cross Your Mind?" (with Bonnie Raitt)Billy Burnette, Michael Smotherman4:34
7."It Was a Very Good Year" (with Willie Nelson)Ervin Drake4:59
8."Hey Girl" (with Michael McDonald)Gerry Goffin, Carole King5:15
9."Sinner's Prayer" (with B.B. King)Lowell Fulson, Lloyd Glenn4:25
10."Heaven Help Us All" (with Gladys Knight)Ronald Miller4:32
11."Over the Rainbow" (with Johnny Mathis)Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg4:54
12."Crazy Love" (with Van Morrison)Van Morrison3:42

Chart history


Chart (2004) Peak
Billboard 200 1
Top Canadian Albums 1
Top Internet Albums 1
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 4
UK Albums Chart 18


Single Chart (2004) Peak
"You Don't Know Me" U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 21
"Here We Go Again" French Singles Chart 51
Austrian Singles Chart 52


Region CertificationCertified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[27] Platinum 40,000^
Australia (ARIA)[28] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[29] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[30] 2× Platinum 200,000^
France (SNEP)[31] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[32] Gold 100,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[33] Gold 7,500^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[34] 2× Platinum 30,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[35] Gold 20,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[36] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[37] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[38] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^
Europe (IFPI)[39] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone



  1. Discography - Ray Charles - Genius Loves Company. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
  2. allmusic: Genius Loves Company overview. All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
  3. Genius Loves Company - Rick VanderKnyff. MSN Money. Retrieved on 2005-02-06.
  4. RIAA Searchable Database: Gold & Platinum Archived 2008-09-02 at WebCite. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on 2008-15-08.
  5. "Allmusic review".
  6. "Robert Christgau review".
  7. "The Daily Vault review".
  8. "Entertainment Weekly review". 2004-09-03.
  9. "JazzTimes review". Archived from the original on 2009-02-15.
  10. "Mojo review". Archived from the original on 2008-12-08.
  11. "PopMattes review".
  12. "Rolling Stone review".
  13. "USA Today review". 2004-08-31.
  14. "Western Courier review". Archived from the original on 2008-12-08.
  15. 'Genius Loves Company': Charles' Parting Gift : NPR Music. NPR. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
  16. Ray Charles - Genius Loves Company. EMI Catalogue. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
  17. Sales Blizzard: Consumers Taking It Home for the Holidays 11/24/04 Archived 2008-12-08 at the Wayback Machine.. Ray Charles Enterprise, Inc. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
  18. Ray Charles Scores First Platinum Recording of Career; ``Genius Loves Company Is Music Legend's. Business Wire. Retrieved on 2008-12-26.
  19. Beyond the coffee market. Starbucks becomes an influential cultural tastemaker - Susan Chandler. Chicago Tribune. 2007-03-17.
  20. "Everyone Loves 'Company'". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 116 (38): 65. 2004-09-18. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2011-05-10.
  21. Mayfield, Geoff (2004-09-18). "Over The Counter". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 116 (38). ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  22. Pietroluongo, Silvio, Minal Patel and Wade Jessen (2004-09-18). "'Bowling' For a Chart Breakthrough". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 116 (38): 72. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2011-05-10.
  23. "September 18, 2004 Billboard Hot Digital Tracks". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 116 (38): 73. 2004-09-18. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 2011-05-10.
  24. BNET: Ray Charles' Multi-Platinum Genius Loves Company Nominated for 10 GRAMMY Awards. CBS Interactive, Inc. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
  25. CBS News: 2005 Grammy Award Winners, Complete List Of 47th Annual Grammy Awards Winners. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved on 2008-11-15.
  26. "Discos de Oro y Platino" (in Spanish). Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. Archived from the original on July 6, 2011. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  27. "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2005 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  28. "Austrian album certifications – Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company" (in German). IFPI Austria. Enter Ray Charles in the field Interpret. Enter Genius Loves Company in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen. 
  29. "Canadian album certifications – Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company". Music Canada.
  30. "French album certifications – Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  31. "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Ray Charles; 'Genius Loves Company')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  32. "Irish album certifications – Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company". Irish Recorded Music Association.
  33. "New Zealand album certifications – Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company". Recorded Music NZ.
  34. "Polish album certifications – Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry.
  35. "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Ray Charles; 'Genius Loves Company')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  36. "British album certifications – Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Enter Genius Loves Company in the search field and then press Enter.
  37. "American album certifications – Ray Charles – Genius Loves Company". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  38. "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 2006". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.


  • Nathan Brackett; Christian David Hoard; Christian Hoard (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. excerpt by Douglas Wolk. Simon and Schuster, USA. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.

External links

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