January 24

Ray Stevens

January 24, 1939 - Clarksdale, Albany

He streaked to the top of the charts.

Singer-songwriter Ray Stevens was born Harold Ray Ragsdale in Clarksdale, Georgia. He attended high school in Albany and soon after got a recording contract in Nashville. In 1970, Stevens hit #1 and won a Grammy with the mainstream “Everything is Beautiful”, but it was the unorthodox songs that really made him famous. He recorded his first novelty song in 1961: “Jeremiah Peabody’s Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green and Purple Pills” went to #35 on the pop charts, and the king of novelty songs was on his way.

“Ahab the Arab,” “Gitarzan,” “Shriner’s Convention,” and “It’s Me Again Margaret” were all popular, but nothing compared to the 1974 smash hit “The Streak.” based on the popular fad, the song raced all the way to the top of the charts in both the U.S. and the U.K.

The man who made “Don’t Look Ethel” a national catchphrase was born on January 24, 1939, Today in Georgia History.