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The Man Behind the Man

Legendary media pioneer Joe Adams came to be known as “The Man Behind the Man,” because for over four decades he was a friend, manager, promoter, and producer to Ray Charles. Theirs was a relationship that grew from a deep respect and of trust and loyalty. The relationship became the longest artist/management in history, until Ray’s death in 2004.  A major network radio personality film and Broadway stage actor, Joe Adams was a well-known entity long before he joined Ray Charles.

Prior to this partnership, Joe Adams, had achieved major success in various roles in the entertainment industry.  Adams, a former renowned Los Angeles deejay (and one of the first prominent African American deejays) had the #1 rated deejay show in Los Angeles.

Following a successful career in radio, Joe Adams branched out into television with two shows of his own, Adams Alley and Joe Adams Presents. These were two of the most popular shows during the early television days and Adams was one of the pioneers of that era, using top name stars and musical greats.

Eventually, Hollywood came calling for the handsome leading man. Appearing in more than 26 motion pictures, two of Joe’s most notable roles are Husky Miller in Carmen Jones (with Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge and Pearl Bailey) and as Frank Sinatra’s psychiatrist in The Manchurian Candidate. Joe Adams was the first African American to win a Golden Globe for New Upcoming Star of the Year – Actor.

Already a success, Joe retired from radio and TV in 1957, when producer David Merrick sought him to star alongside Lena Horne and Ricardo Montalban in Jamaica on Broadway.

But it was Joe Adams’ visionary business acumen that helped manage and lead the career of Ray Charles. Together these two forces of nature built an enterprise that even to this day, surprises many, due to the layered and strategic approach they forged in every deal.

As Vice President/CEO in charge of Ray Charles Enterprises, Inc., Joe Adams supervised the activities of Ray Charles’ business holdings, including Ray Charles; the publishing companies, Tangerine and Racer Music, the Ray Charles Orchestra and the Raelettes. In addition, Joe Adams served as producer of the Ray Charles Show, overseeing everything from the bookings, lights and wardrobe, which he personally designed for Ray Charles and on many occasions for the Raelettes.

Joe Adams was at the helm of Ray Charles Enterprises, Inc. until the death of Ray Charles in 2004.  He then stepped in as Chairman of the Board for The Ray Charles Foundation, appointed by Ray Charles, until his retirement in 2008.  Joe Adams passed away in 2018.