Musician Renald Richard, who co-wrote Ray Charles' 'I Got a Woman,' dies on Marco Island

04.12.2021
Musician Renald Richard, who co-wrote Ray Charles' 'I Got a Woman,' dies on Marco Island - Похоронный портал

Dave Osborn  Naples Daily News



Renald Richard, 91, plays the trumpet during a jazz jam session at the home of Jim Gover in Naples, Fla., on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016. Although members come and go, the group has been meeting every Tuesday for the past eight years. Richard is Ray Charles' former band leader and co-wrote his hit song "I Got a Woman."


Many may not know his name, but they recognize the song he co-wrote with Ray Charles that launched a musical wave.

The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, John Mayer and dozens of others covered the hit, "I Got A Woman," which Rolling Stone magazine in 2004 included in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The song is widely recognized as helping to popularlize the soul music genre.

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Renald Richard penned the hit with Charles in 1954, when the Florida-born Charles recorded it in Atlanta.

Richard died Nov. 26 on Marco Island. He was 96.

A funeral mass is set for 10:30 a.m. Friday at San Marco Catholic Church, 851 San Marco Road, with burial to follow at Marco Island Cemetery. 

"We were riding in his car (see, at that time we didn't have a bus or planes, we drove everywhere)," Richard told the Naples Daily News in 2009 about how the song originated. He was Charles' musical director at the time. 

"And Ray was listening to gospel music. He loved to listen to gospel music. We heard this song that had the same type of beat to it.

"We just started singing our own words to it. I sang 'I got a woman,' then Ray sang 'way across town.' Then I went 'she's good to me.' And he added the 'Oh, yeah.'

"After that Ray asked me if I wanted to write something with that. I told him I had already done something with it."


Renald Richards of the Marco Island Strummers performs an echoed "Taps" along with Craig Greusel. The VFW hosted the Memorial Day observances 11 a.m. Monday at Veterans' Community Park on a windblown Marco Island.

Renald Joseph Richard was born in Thibodaux, Louisiana, on May 3, 1925, and began his career in New Orleans. A professional trumpet player and lyricist, he toured with many groups including his family band, the Johnson Brothers, Guitar Slim, Ivory Joe Hunter, read his obituary in the Daily News.

He also performed trumpet studio work with Little Richard and other artists in the late 1940s. He also was an area representative for Atlantic Records.

Renald Richard joined the “new” Ray Charles Band in 1954 and was Charles' first band leader and solo trumpet. They toured throughout the South and West and "I Got A Woman" became Charles' first No. 1 hit.

"Renald has many other tunes that have been recorded by artists including Joe Turner, Guitar Slim, Louis Prima, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and Ricky Nelson to name a few," his obit said.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Lesley Wright Richard of Marco Island; sons Lawrence Richard of Mount Vernon, New York, and Thaddeus Richard of New Orleans; daughters Jeanette Richard of White Plains, New York, and Rosemarie Richard of New Orleans; and granddaughter Charlnette Owens of Hampton, Virginia.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at hodgesjosberger.com for the Richard family.

Dave Osborn is the regional features editor of the Naples Daily News and News-Press. Follow him on Instagram @detroitdave88 and on Twitter @NDN_dosborn.


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