On August 31, 2004, the posthumous release date of Ray Charles’ Genius Love Company, fans caught a glimpse into the icon’s spawning grounds. People from a wide variety of cultures, spanning teenagers to senior citizens, encircled his nondescript studio located in a Los Angeles working-class neighborhood between Hollywood and downtown.
Stretching around the perimeter of the gated 42-year-old building, declared a historic landmark by the City of Los Angeles on April 30, they patiently waited up to 45 minutes for the special three-hour viewing. Once inside, the visitors saw Charles’ near dozen instruments — mostly keyboards. Also on display were awards and pictures with other celebrities, including former President Bill Clinton. Unfortunately, the artistic maverick’s control room was barely visible through a glass window. But most didn’t mind, as they seemed more interested in his wardrobe room, containing the wild suits that became something of a trademark.