Ray Stevens was born Harold Ray Ragsdale on January 24, 1939, in the small town of Clarkdale, Georgia. Professionally, he is known as Ray Stevens. He released his first single in 1957 and his first full album in 1962. Dozens of Stevens’ singles have charted on the Billboard Hot Country Charts. “The Streak” and “Everything is Beautiful” reached NO. 1 on the Billboard. Stevens is well known for his novelty songs, and he wrote all of his own songs with only having a co-writer on two of them from 1962-1980.
At age 18, he signed with Capital Records in 1957, and in 1958, Bill Lancing hired Stevens to play numerous instruments, arrange music, and perform background vocals for his band. Stevens signed with Mercury Records in 1961 and had several hit singles, including “Ahab the Arab” which reached NO. 5 on the billboard in 1962.
During the ’70s, Stevens became a producer and studio musician in Nashville. He joined MCA in 1982 and became known as “The Country Comedian.”
Ray Stevens is an American country and pop singer, song-writer and comedian. He is known for his Grammy winning recordings. He has worked as a producer, music arranger, song writer, television host and a solo artist. He has been inducted into Nashville Song Writer Hall of Fame, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Christian Music Hall of Fame and has received gold albums for his music sales.
In the ’90s, with country music rapidly changing direction and largely abandoning older and established artists, he decided to take a new direction and opened his own theater in Branson, Missouri in 1991.
Between 2000-2014, Stephens recorded songs that were aimed toward the catastrophes in America, such as Katrina in Louisiana, Politics (Sara Pallin) and one for all the truck drivers. In the midst of conversation, a spoken word could become an inspiration for a good song.
In 2019, Ray Stevens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, cementing his status as a country music icon.