Fathead Newman: Look at Ray over there. You see that? He feels her wrist because he figures that's the way to tell if she's good looking or not. (imdb.com)
Joe Adams: You don't have to talk to Ray, you're talking to me.
Fathead Newman: I'll talk to whoever I damn well please and it sure as hell ain't you. (imdb.com)
Gossie McKee: What the hell's Ray doin' up there?
Marlene: Auditionin' for you Gossie.
Gossie McKee: He ain't no good without me.
Marlene: How'd you and the 'Bama like to do a week here at the Chair. I know a good bass player. Nice jazz trio can score big. With the right manager.
Gossie McKee: Manager?
Marlene: Come on now, Gossie, don't be so small minded. You know you have to give to get.
Gossie McKee: What exactly do I have to give?
Marlene: Twenty-five percent. But I'll be gettin' you other gigs.
Gossie McKee: Alright. Next question. What do I get?
Marlene: What do you need?
Gossie McKee: Double scale as leader. Plus ten percent.
Marlene: What about the 'Bama?
Gossie McKee: He's about as green as a blade of grass. I can handle him.
Marlene: Yeah, he's green alright. So, Gossie, you don't have to worry about finding a hotel room for the 'Bama. He can flop at my place.
Gossie McKee: You don't never change. (imdb.com)
(Ray is recording "Georgia on my Mind")
Margie Hendricks: Listen to that crap. I thought you said ABC wasn't gonna force nothing on him.
Jeff Brown: They didn't. It was Ray's idea. Something new.
Margie Hendricks: What are we then, Jeff? Something old?
Fathead Newman: Yeah. We got to eat too. (imdb.com)
Gossie McKee: Look, Ray! Ray! We can make a new deal; whatever'd make you happy!
Ray Charles: The deal is *you* can "lay the pipe" now! (imdb.com)
Ray Charles: If I feel the music, that means it's real.
Quincy Jones: No, it ain't. Ray Charles is a sell-out. The blind Liberace, leaving those Rocking Chair roots behind.
Ahmet Ertegun: Ray, I'm gonna tell you something and I don't want you to take it the wrong way.
Ray Charles: Well, then give it to me right then.
Ahmet Ertegun: I signed you because I sensed something special in you not because you sound like Nate Cole or Charles Brown.
Ray Charles: But I thought you liked what I do.
Ahmet Ertegun: Look we love the tenor of your voice, your vituosity, your energy...
Ray Charles: But not my music.
Ahmet Ertegun: Man, I didn't say that.
Ray Charles: Look, Ahmet, this is what I do. I gotta make a living. This is what the people want. I don't know no other way.
Ahmet Ertegun: Well we gotta help you find one. Look, let's try a little change of pace. Your familiar with stride piano?
Ray Charles: You kidding me, man? The man I learned the piano from was a stride player.
Ahmet Ertegun: Okay, I've got a song. It's called the Mess Around.
Ray Charles: Mess around. Cute title. Who wrote it?
Ahmet Ertegun: I did.
Ray Charles: Oh. You wrote it. Well, sing it to me, man.
Ahmet Ertegun: Sing it?
Ray Charles: Yeah, it's not like I can read the lyrics.
Ahmet Ertegun: Alright. It's in the key of G.
Ray Charles: Key of G.
Ahmet Ertegun: No. More like a Pete Johnson kind of thing.
Ray Charles: Pete Johnson.
(Begins playing again)
Ahmet Ertegun: Yeah, yeah. That's good.
Ray Charles: Oh, you like that? Okay, let's go.
Ray Charles: Marge is drunk, Jeff. Go home and sleep it off.
Jeff Brown: Let me take you home.
Margie Hendricks: No. I'll leave when I'm good and goddamn ready to.
Ray Charles: She's good and goddamn ready right now.
(Della Bea has just discovered Ray's drug problem)
Della Bea Robinson: That stuff kills people, Ray. Now you've gotta stop it.
Ray Charles: I don't have to do a *goddamn* thing!
Ray Charles: I love the stories. You know, about fallin' in love, and having love knock you around, and then the pressures of the world on you so tough it makes you feel small. You just want to give your soul to God. You might as well, your ass belongs to him.
Ray Charles: You know what they're saying about me? Said I lost something. Said I've gone middle-of-the-road. They might as well say the same thing about you. You were the soul of this band, now every time you're around you're just drunk. The drunk soul of a blind junkie. What a lovely couple.
Aretha Robinson: Always remember your promise to me. Never let nobody or nothing turn you into no cripple.
Milt Shaw: Forget second billing. Ray Charles headlines at a thousand per or no deal.
Milt Shaw: Terrific.
Ray Charles: I want you to promise me something. Promise you won't feel sorry for me just because I'm blind.
Della Bea Robinson: How can I pity someone I admire?
Jerry Wexler: Ahmet believes we're family here at Atlantic Records. I believe we're family at Atlantic. Obviously you don't. Ahmet wouldn't believe it. You know what he said, Ray? He said you would never turn your back on us. Never for a schlockmeister like Sam Clark. Ha! That's rich. Sam Clark's a corporate slug who wouldn't know the difference between Earl Hines and Art Tatum! We let you grow here, Ray. Nobody's taking credit for your talent, but we nourished it. We let you do your thing. Goddamn it, we deserve better than this.
Ray Charles: You know that I appreciate everything you guys have done here, Jerry. Ahmet, I'm very proud of the work we've done here together and Atlantic has done pretty good moneywise on my records, haven't they?
Ahmet Ertegun: Yes, we've done very well, Ray.
Ray Charles: You're the ones who taught me that making a record is business and find the best business deal that you can. Now seventy-five cents of every dollar and owning my own masters is a pretty damn good deal. Can you match it?
Ahmet Ertegun: Ray we would love to match it, but we just can't. That's a better deal than Sinatra gets... I'm very proud of you.
(as Ray is going blind)
Aretha Robinson: I'll show you how to do something once, I'll help you if you mess up twice, but the third time you're on your own. 'Cause that's how it is in the world.
(after Ray accuses Jeff of stealing)
Ray Charles: How could you do that? We've been through so much. We were like brothers.
Jeff Brown: Ray... if we were like brothers, why are you paying Joe more than you're paying me?
Ray Charles: Damn all that. You broke my heart.
Jeff Brown: Well you know what, Ray? You broke mine a long goddamn time ago.
Ray Charles: Well, there it is.
(Jeff walks away)
Jeff Brown: You know something, Ray? You're gonna get yours one day. And I pray to God he has mercy on your soul, you son of a b*tch!
(last title card)
Title card: As celebrated as he became, he never forgot his roots, contributing over $20 million to African-American Colleges and charities for the blind and deaf.
Title card: Ray kept his promise. He never touched heroin again.
Milt Shaw: He's filed a lawsuit, Ray, and it's more than a fine. This guy's got juice, he can get you barred from ever playing Georgia again. But he's willing to drop the suit if you make up the gig.
Ray Charles: Not if it's segregated.
Milt Shaw: Ray... I admire what you're doing, man, but you can't afford this. Georgia's our highest grossing state.
Ray Charles: I'm never playing another Jim Crow joint ever again, do you got that?
Milt Shaw: I got it.
Della Bea Robinson: Let me call you a cab.
Ray Charles: I got it. Three blocks up, left for two, right for one, fifteen giant steps and I'm at the Crystal White Hotel. Hello!
Joe Adams: (showing Ray and his wife their new mansion in Los Angeles) This foyer is designed to impress anybody who walks in the door. There's a big winding staircase, just like "Gone with the Wind".
Ray Charles: (to his wife) We should get our portraits painted, like Rhett and Scarlett.
Gossie McKee: Man, we're gonna be late.
Ray Charles: I gotta get my own place, Gossie.
Gossie McKee: Why? I mean you got free rent right now.
Ray Charles: Like hell it's free rent...
Aretha Robinson: If you want to do something to make your mama proud, promise me. Promise me you won't let nobody turn you into no cripple, you won't become no charity case, and you'll stand on your own two feet.
Young Ray Robinson: I promise.
Aretha Robinson: I love you, baby. I'm so proud of you.
Ray Charles: That's Diz. Emanon!
Quincy Jones: Yeah, but what's it spell backwards?
Ray Charles: Come on man, why don't you give me something difficult? "No name."
Quincy Jones: Say, daddy-o, what axe you play?
Ray Charles: Uh, piano. Just blew in from Tampa, Florida. Me and my partner, Gossie McGee, came here, you know, want to fatten up our style. Cop some licks from some more experienced cats, you dig?
Quincy Jones: You know what? Why don't you let me take you inside? You know, show you around.
Ray Charles: All right. Perfect gentleman.
Quincy Jones: Yeah, this is just like my place. So, what's your name?
Ray Charles: Ray Robinson.
Quincy Jones: I'm Quincy Jones.
Ray Charles: Don't worry about it, man. If this monkey gets too heavy on my back, I will get an organ grinder and put him to work.
Ray Charles: (responding to knock on his door) Who is it?
Ahmet Ertegun: Mr. Charles, my name is Ahmet Ertegun. May I have a moment of your time?
Ray Charles: (opening door) What do you want, man? I'm at church.
Ahmet Ertegun: I'm sorry. I'll come back later.
Ray Charles: You're here now, what do you want?
Ahmet Ertegun: Mr. Charles, my company, Atlantic Records, has just acquired your contract from Swingtime. I'd like to talk about your future.
Ray Charles: Hold on, man. Don't jive me now. I ain't for sale.
Ahmet Ertegun: May I sit down?
(Sits in chair)
Ahmet Ertegun: You see it seems that Jack Lauderdale has found himself, shall we say, a little over extended and has had to unload some of his talent. When your name came up I jumped at the chance to work with you. I'm a big fan.
Ray Charles: What if I want to go to another company? There's a guy out there right now that's willing to pay me seven cents a record. Can you do that?
Ahmet Ertegun: Man, I could promise you fifteen cents a record but you won't get it. Anymore than he'll pay you seven. What I will do is promise you five cents a record and pay you five cents a record. You think pennies, Mr. Charles, you get pennies. You think dollars, you get dollars.
Ray Charles: I like the way you put things together. Omlet, you're alright with me.
Ahmet Ertegun: Ahmet.
Ray Charles: Ahmet. What kind of a name is that anyway.
Ahmet Ertegun: I'm Turkish.
Ray Charles: Well, it looks like Jack Lauderdale's bad luck is my good fortune. I always knew Atlantic was bigger than Swingtime. You do great music there. I dig Atlantic.
Ahmet Ertegun: You could have fooled me.
Ray Charles: Well, I gotta keep my eye on you city boys. Back home they call it country dumb.
Ray Charles: It ain't Turkish.
Marlene: Gossie been cattin' with one of my waitresses since he got here. He never told me his partner was a blind 'Bama boy.
Oberon: Marlene, Demure called. Thurman's sick.
Marlene: What about Sassie.
Oberon: Flat tire.
Marlene: Alright, 'Bama, why don't you get up there and show me what you got.
Ray Charles: Well, I, I'm not really prepared to do my thing, I mean, right now, tonight.
Marlene: Well, this is the only audition you're gonna get, Puddin', so either get on up there or you and Gossie can haul your asses back down south.
Oberon: (hands Ray a joint) Here smoke some of this.
Ray Charles: (coughs) That ain't no tobacco, man!
Oberon: No. Hold it in. It'll calm you down.
Marlene: Alright, Oberon, get up there and introduce him.
Oberon: Yes, Maam!
Marlene: Come on, 'Bama.
Ray Charles: Yeah!
Oberon: I got a special treat for all you satin dolls and I'm not talking about Oberon's big thunder. No, that's for another show. We got some new blood for ya. Fresh off the bus from Florida I give you Ray "Don't Call Me Sugar" Robinson.
Ray Charles: How y'all doin' tonight?
Man in Bar: Better than you!
Oberon: Relax, Ray, relax!
Ray Charles: I got it. What do y'all wanna hear?
Aretha Robinson: How 'bout a little Nat King Cole?
Ray Charles: Y'all like Nat King Cole?
Marlene: 'Bama ain't bad.
Oberon: I'd say he saved our asses.
Marlene: (speaking suggestively to Ray) I've got some more blackberry cobbler for you!
Ray Charles: There's some things you're not understandin'...
Della Bea Robinson: Well, make me understand, Ray!
Ray Charles: Baby, when I walk out that door I walk out alone in the dark. I'm trying to do something ain't nobody ever done in music and business. But I can't do it if I'm alone everywhere I go. I don't wanna be alone here, Bea. Not in my own home. Look, Bea, if you don't understand me, then who will?
Aretha Robinson: Somebody'll fetch you when the bus gets to St. Augustine. When your there, show'em this.
Aretha Robinson: Tell them your name is Ray Charles Robinson.
Aretha Robinson: An' the sandwiches I made, don't eat them all at once... ya hear me?
Young Ray Robinson: (starting to cry) Mama... please don't make me go away. I'll keep up with the normal kids. I'll be good, just like George.
Aretha Robinson: This got nothin' to do with George... I've taken you as far as I can, baby. The teachers at St. Augustine know things I can't teach you. An' you need an education in this world.
Young Ray Robinson: I don't want no education!
Aretha Robinson: Shh! don't say that!
Young Ray Robinson: I don't! I wanna stay here with you!
Aretha Robinson: Stop it, Ray! I won't have you livin' hand to mouth like me, you hear?
(after Ray nods)
Aretha Robinson: Now... If you wanna do something to make Mama proud, promise me you'll never let nobody turn you into no cripple... You won't become no charity case. An? you will *always* stand on your own two feet.
Young Ray Robinson: I promise.
Aretha Robinson: I love you baby... I'm so proud of you.
Aretha Robinson, Ray Charles: Scratch a lie, find a thief.
Ray Charles: I hear like you see. Like that hummingbird outside the window, for instance.
Della Bea Robinson: (astonished) I can't hear her.
Ray Charles: You have to listen.
Della Bea Robinson: (closes her eyes, hears the hummingbird) Yes!
Ray Charles: Yeah. Yes, you can... Uh-oh. Did you hear that?
Della Bea Robinson: What?
Ray Charles: Her heart just skipped a beat.
Ray Charles: I have a question for all of you. How would you like to go on the road with me?
Margie Hendricks: Um, how much you gonna pay us?
Ray Charles: Ahmet takes care of all of that.
Margie Hendricks: You mean he don't listen to you?
Ray Charles: You better know he does. Don't worry about it. Brother Ray will take care of all of you, honey.
Margie Hendricks: Well my mama taught me to take care of myself, honey.
Ray Charles: Well is your mother here?
Margie Hendricks: No she's not, but I speak for us.
Ray Charles: Okay Speak For Us, how about $20 a week.
Margie Hendricks: We'll take $40. Each.
Ray Charles: Forty each?
Margie Hendricks: You heard me!
Ray Charles: Naw! How about $25.
Margie Hendricks: We'll take $30.
Ray Charles: I better say yes before you talk me out of my drawers.
(the Cookies cheer and laugh)
Ray Charles: Is it a deal?
Margie Hendricks: Oh! Yeah!
Ray Charles: You'll be called the Raelettes.
Margie Hendricks: Does that mean we have to let Ray?
Ray Charles: Oh, what am I gonna do with you?
Margie Hendricks: I'm sure you'll think of something.
Jerry Wexler: Ruth Brown's got a tour booked in Georgia. She needs a band.
Ray Charles: I'll take it. I could write the charts for her, I could do backup, and I could also be an opening act.
Ahmet Ertegun: Okay. But you're gonna be financially responsible. You're gonna have to make it work, Ray.
Ray Charles: Yeah, yeah. I'm gonna make it do what it do, baby.
Milt Shaw: You know, Ray, your contract with Atlantic expires in 4 months.
Ray Charles: Yeah, I know. Ahmet and Jerry sent me my new contract. They're gonna double my royalties.
Milt Shaw: Before we go down that road again I thought I'd check and see what else was out there.
Ray Charles: Now, who told you to do that? Atlantic is family. Just like the Shaw agency.
Milt Shaw: Ray, my job is to find you the best deal out there. Now, I had a very productive meeting with the folks at ABC Paramount and they are very interested.
Ray Charles: No. How interested?
Milt Shaw: How about a 50 thousand dollar advance every year for the first three years? You choose your own music. They'll deduct recording costs and pay you 75 percent. Now, look, Ahmet and Jerry are flying in tomorrow night. Will you at least put them off until I have a chance to talk to the boys at ABC?
Ray Charles: Well, my mama always said there was nothin' wrong with talkin'.
Joe Adams: You don't have to talk to Ray, you're talking to me.
Fathead Newman: I'll talk to whoever I damn well please and it sure as hell ain't you.
Milt Shaw: He's off the Chitlin Circuit. Down Beat just voted him best male jazz vocalist by a two to one margin.
Milt Shaw: Well, if you want to keep him in Philadelphia, you're gonna find him a bigger venue.
Jerry Wexler: (Listening to Ray perform "I Got a Woman") Ahmet.
Ahmet Ertegun: Yeah?
Jerry Wexler: We gotta get this on wax.
Ahmet Ertegun: Oh, yeah.
Eula: Aretha! Aretha Robinson, what do you think you're doing?
Aretha Robinson: Eula Bench, you promised me to split these washbaskets fair and square!
Eula: And I did.
Aretha Robinson: Hell, you did! You charged them white folks one thing and paid me another!
Eula: Well, now, who's gonna wash all these?
Aretha Robinson: You can! Now pay me my money!
Eula: Alright, I'm gonna pay you your two little dollars, but don't you be expecting no more work from me!
Aretha Robinson: I got all the work I need from you! Ray, George, come on!
Eula: That's right! And don't y'all ever come back!
Aretha Robinson: (to Ray and George) Y'all got to learn to read and write real good, so you don't have to work for folks like them. Scratch a liar, find a thief. Understand?
Young Ray Robinson, Young George Robinson: Yes, ma'am.
Milt Shaw: Ray Charles. We believe in your talent. We want to be in the Ray Charles business. We've already got you booked on a ten city tour with Roy Milton's Solid Senders and Tangula, the exotic shake dancer.
Ahmet Ertegun: She is gorgeous.
Ray Charles: Don't jive me, man.
Jack Lauderdale: Hey, Baby. You sound more like Nat than the King himself. What's your name?
Ray Charles: Ray Robinson.
Jack Lauderdale: Ray Robinson. I'm Jack Lauderdale, Swingtime records.
Ray Charles: Hey, Jack! How you doin'!
Jack Lauderdale: How 'bout us making a record together?
Ray Charles: Oh, hell yes! Let's do that.
Marlene: Can I help you?
Jack Lauderdale: I don't think so. Me and Cool Breeze here just talkin' a little business.
Marlene: Then you need to talk to me because I'm his manager.
Ray Charles: Whichever way the wind blows.
Marlene: It's blowing.
Jack Lauderdale: Jack Lauderdale. Swingtime records.
Marlene: Marlene Andre.
Jack Lauderdale: Marlene.
Gossie McKee: Gossie McKee.
Jack Lauderdale: Gossie McKee.
Marlene: Great set, baby. We're going to talk with Mr. Lauderdale here.
Ray Charles: I'm gonna come down there and talk to him.
Gossie McKee: You are doin' a fabulous job, Ray.
Ray Charles: Hey, Goss! Yes, man. Hey look, let's talk to him about this record, man.
Gossie McKee: No, no, we're gonna let Marlene handle that. You get Oberon to call you a cab, alright.
Ray Charles: Guys! Guys!
Oberon: Hey Daddy-O, want to smoke? I've got some gage fresh off the boat. It's clean and seedless.
Ray Charles: So that's how it is, huh? You keep me high while they talk the business?
Oberon: I ain't the one playin' you, man.
Fathead Newman: This ain't no weed, Ray. And we ain't snorting no b*tch. This is boy! Boy'll make your ass null and void.
Ray Charles: Null and void, just like my life.
Jack Lauderdale: So Ray, we got to talk about your name, man. Robinson. I mean, Sugar Ray got to Robinson franchise all sewed up. So I'm thinking we go with your middle name: Charles. As in "Ray Charles."
Ray Charles: I don't care what you call me, man, just as long as my name is on the record.
Della Bea Robinson: (talking about Ray's drug problem) You have got to stop this now because there is something you love more then me...
Ray Charles: No, don't say that, Bea...
Della Bea Robinson: ...there is something you love more then me, the children, and every woman you ever slept with.
Ray Charles: No, don't say that, Bea. You know I love you more then anythin'
Della Bea Robinson: (shouts) It's your music!
(starts to cry)
Della Bea Robinson: And if you keep usin' that needle they'll take away your music and put you in *jail!* Is that what you want?
Ray Charles: You told me to find my own voice.
Oberon: You know, Marlene and Gossie's the ones running the game on you, Ray. They sliced up the pie the first night you played. Thirty-five percent off the top. Plus Gossie's double scale as leader.
Ray Charles: Leader. If anyone's leadin' the band I'm the leader! You know what? Forget the bohumps. I'm goin' my own way.
Oberon: Who's gonna book your gigs? Marlene's got you locked up and she ain't about to let her golden goose go.
Lady in Rain: (singing) Straighten up and fly right. Cool down papa don't you blow your top.
Lady in Rain: Ray Robinson you are fan-tastic.
Oberon: There you go man. Gimme some skin.
Ray Charles: (Feels card in his hand) What's this?
Oberon: Jack's card. I got his number at the hotel
Della Bea Robinson: The only thing that can help you is God, Ray!
Ray Charles: Don't you talk about God! You have any idea how it feels to go blind and still be afraid of the dark? And every day, you stand and pray just for a little light, and you don't get nothing. Cause God don't listen to people like me.
Della Bea Robinson: Stop talking like that.
Ray Charles: As far as I'm concerned, me and God is even, and I do what I damn well please.
Oberon: I asked Marlene for a raise the other day. You know what she said. She said I should be grateful I ain't back at the circus, getting out of a car with ten other midgets.
Ray Charles: That's Marlene.
Oberon: b*tch knew just how to shut me up, threatening to take away my bacon. 'Cause you know man. When I'm up on that stage with a mic in my hand, and the lights in my face, ain't nobody bigger than me. Nobody baby.
Ray Charles: Yeah, when I'm up there playin', I mean they really shut up and listen. Nobody lookin' down on me, or no bad dreams. I'm home free.
Oberon: You know, Marlene and Gossie are the ones running the game on you Ray. They sliced up the pie the first night you played. Thirty-five percent off the top. Plus Gossie's double scale as leader.
Ray Charles: Leader? If anyone should be getting paid for being the leader I'm the one leading the band.
Ray Charles: Man, you told me if I think pennies, I get pennies. I'm thinking dollars, man.