10 of the Most Famous Blind Singers of All Time
There have been many blind singers over the years that have touched our hearts with amazing music, such as Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder.
Here are 10 of the most famous blind singers of all time.
1. Stevie Wonder
Starting off the list is the one and only Stevie Wonder. Stevie Wonder is a singer, songwriter, and record producer who has been involved in music since he was 11. Although he was blind from birth, that didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most successful musicians of all time. He is a tied record holder for most ‘Album of the Year’ awards.
He is known for his notable tracks like “I Wish”, “Superstition”, and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”. Wonder has been inducted not just into one, but three Hall of Fames. The first was the Songwriters Hall of Fame, then the Grammy Hall of Fame, and most recently, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also has a star to his name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is living proof that no dream is too big, even if you’re blind.
2. Ray Charles
Also known as “The Genius” in the world of contemporary music, Ray Charles was a singer, songwriter, and pianist who rose to fame in the 1950s. His unique style of music which some fans call “blues with a soul” made him one of the most influential musicians of his time. He, unfortunately, lost his sight during his childhood.
Some of his masterpieces that helped cement his place in music history are “Georgia on My Mind”, “Hit the Road Jack”, and “I Can’t Stop Loving You”. He has been posthumously awarded several Grammy Awards, including Lifetime Achievement and Album of the Year. He’s an inspiration to many aspiring singers.
3. Diane Schuur
Learning to play the piano is a difficult task, but Diane Schuur was born with a perfect pitch which helped her rapid progress in her musical career. She went completely blind soon after her birth due to some complications. Her mother was a music lover which meant that Diane was constantly exposed to music.
This gifted singer has released many albums throughout her career and even got the chance to perform at a musical event in the White House. She’s had all the success any musician could hope for, but she remains down to earth. Diane Schuur is a two-time Grammy winner and has been nominated for many other prestigious awards.
4. Andrea Bocelli
Andrea Bocelli is an Italian singer, songwriter, and record producer who has sold over 90 million records worldwide. Though he was born with minimal vision impairment, he gradually started to lose sight at the age of 12 due to an accident while playing football. Despite this, he continued to pursue his musical dreams.
He has released numerous albums throughout his career, including a few holiday albums. He has even collaborated and duetted with some of the biggest names in the music industry like Celine Dion, Tony Bennett, and even Ariana Grande. Some of his notable tracks include “Time to Say Goodbye” and “Con te partirò”. His talent is undeniable, and his story is one of resilience and hope.
5. Paul Pena
Paul Pena was a blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist who is best known for writing the track “Jet Airliner”. Although he wasn’t born blind, he gradually started to lose sight in his early 20s. This didn’t stop him from continuing his musical career though, as he went on to release several albums.
Aside from his musical accomplishments, Pena is also known for being the subject of the documentary film “Genghis Blues”. The film chronicles his journey to Tuva, a remote region of Mongolia, where he pursued his desire to learn and be an expert in Throat Singing. Truly, Paul Pena knows no limits.
6. Ginny Owens
Ginny Owens is a Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter who has won multiple awards for her music, including three Dove Awards. She went blind when she was three years old, but that did not stop her from pursuing her passion for music. She acquired a degree in Music Education from Belmont University and released her first album in 1999 which peaked at number 25.
Since then, Ginny has gone on to release a total of 16 more albums and EPs and has become one of the most popular Contemporary Christian artists around. She is an inspiration to many, proving that anything is possible despite what life throws your way.
7. Blind Lemon Jefferson
Known as Blind Lemon, Henry Jefferson was a blues singer and songwriter who was one of the most popular musicians of the 1920s. He was born blind and learned to play guitar by ear at a young age. Jefferson went on to have a very successful career, and is even recognized as the “Father of the Texas Blues”.
His unique style and voice captivated audiences, and he inspired many other musicians who came after him. Known to have high-pitched vocals, Jefferson’s songs often told stories of love, hope, and heartache. His music is still enjoyed by many today and he is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time.
8. José Feliciano
I’m sure you know the Christmas classic “Feliz Navidad”, but did you know that it was written and performed by José Feliciano? Feliciano is a Puerto Rican singer and songwriter who is best known for his renditions of popular hits like “Light My Fire” and “California Dreamin'”. He is credited with being the first outstanding classical musician to introduce nylon-string guitar sounds into the pop/rock genre.
His blindness stems from being born with congenital glaucoma, but that has not stopped him from having a hugely successful career. To date, he has recorded over 56 studio albums and has won numerous awards, including 9 Grammy Awards.
9. Ronnie Lee Milsap
Ronnie Lee Milsap is a country music singer and pianist who has had a very successful career, selling over 35 million albums throughout his lifetime. He was born with severe congenital deformities which left him almost completely blind. Despite this, Milsap learned to play the piano at an early age and went on to have a very successful career in country music.
He started his breakthrough in the 1970s with a string of hits like “Pure Love” and “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends”, which led him to win his first ever Grammy. He pursued his passion for music and went on to release a total of 40 chart-topping hits, 35 of which landed the first spot on the Billboard charts!
10. Clarence Carter
Clarence Carter is a soul singer and musician who has had a long and successful career in the music industry. Born blind, Carter was able to finish his studies with a degree in Science. Later on, he pursued his passion for music and formed a duo with his friend Calvin. The two went on to have a very successful career, releasing hits like “Patches” and “Slip Away”.
Throughout his career, Carter has won multiple awards and nominations, including a Grammy Award for his work on the album “Patches”. He is an inspiration to many, with or without vision impairments, proving that anything is possible if you set your mind to it!
These are only a few of the many talented blind singers out there making great music. While their blindness may be seen as a hindrance by some, they have used it to their advantage and have gone on to achieve great things. These singers are an inspiration to us all and remind us that when life throws you a curveball, it’s important to pick yourself up and keep going.
Stevie Wonder Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Andrea Bocelli Featured Image (Bottom-Left) by: Jakub Janecki, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Jose Feliciano Featured Image (Bottom-Right) by: Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons