“I Can’t Stop Loving You” was Ray Charles third number one following “Georgia on My Mind” in 1960 and “Hit the Road, Jack” in 1961. It was also his last number one on the pop charts, but we all know that Ray Charles didn’t depend on chart records to make his career. He worked his entire life and became one of the true music legends in this country.
In 1962, Ray released two albums of country covers, called, respectively, “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music” and “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Volume 2”. It has been said that these two albums did more than anything else to bring country music into mainstream America. He was strongly discouraged by his associates from recording a Country album. His friends told him he was crazy, that it would ruin his career. He was a rhythm and blues artist, not a country singer. But, he didn’t listen and aren’t we glad he didn’t.
“Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music” stayed at number one on the Billboard Pop Album Chart for three and a half months and stayed on the chart for two years. They eventually released four singles from the album and they all charted in the Top 40 of the Pop Charts. “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Volume 2” did almost as well as Volume 1, peaking at number two on the charts and producing two singles.
His version of a Don Gibson song from 1958 called “I Can’t Stop Loving You” became his biggest hit so far and would turn out to be the biggest hit of his career. The song spent five weeks at number one on the Billboard Pop Charts and spent 10 weeks at number one on the R&B charts and it’s not really an R&B song. It also became his only number one on the U.K. charts. Ray said he didn’t sing the song like country and western, he sang it “like me.”
Ray followed up “I Can’t Stop Loving You” with 4 more country song from the 2 albums. “You Don’t Know Me” (#2) in 1962 was originally done by Eddy Arnold in 1956. “You Are My Sunshine” (#7) is a standard that goes back to Bing Crosby in 1941. “Your Cheating Heart (#29) is a country standard and a number one song for Hank Williams in 1953. “Take These Chains From My Heart” (#8) is another Hank Williams country song from 1953. It was Williams’ last number one.
“I Can’t Stop Loving You” entered the pop chart on May 19, 1962 and stayed at the top for five weeks, making it one of the biggest songs of the year.