Margie Hendrix

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Margie Hendrix
Birth nameMarjorie Hendrix
Born(1935-03-13)March 13, 1935
Register, Georgia, U.S.
DiedJuly 14, 1973(1973-07-14) (aged 38)
New York City, U.S.
  • Singer
  • Vocals
  • Piano
Years active1954-1970
Associated actsThe Cookies (1956–1958)
The Raelettes (1958–1964)

Marjorie "Margie" Hendrix (sometimes Hendricks) (March 13, 1935 – July 14, 1973)[1] was an American rhythm and blues singer and founding member of the Raelettes, who were the backing singers for Ray Charles, the father of her child, Charles Wayne Hendrix.

Early years and the Cookies[edit]

Margie Hendrix was born on March 13, 1935, in Register, Georgia, the daughter of Kattie and Renzy Hendrix.[1] She sang, played piano and directed her local church choir while in her teens. In the early 1950s, around the age of 18, she moved to New York City and signed a record deal with Lamp records and released her first singles "Everything", "Good Treatment", and "Every Time" in 1954, but they did not hit the charts and she left the label in 1955. In 1956, she replaced Beulah Robertson in the Cookies, joining existing members Dorothy Jones and Darlene McCrea. The group signed to Atlantic Records, and had a #9 hit on the R&B chart with "In Paradise". They also started working as session singers at Atlantic, where they were introduced to Ray Charles. The Cookies auditioned for Charles on the song "Leave My Woman Alone". In 1958, Margie and McCrea left the Cookies (who later went on to greater success with a different line-up), and later formed the Raelettes as Ray's backing singers.[2]

The Raelettes and Ray Charles[edit]

In October 1958, Ray Charles recorded his first song with the Raelettes, "Night Time Is the Right Time", which reached #5 on the R&B charts. The song is widely known for Margie's soulful vocals.[3] There was a mutual attraction and Margie and Ray began an affair, and had one son, Charles Wayne Hendricks (born October 1, 1959) together.[2][4] After she gave birth to Charles Wayne, she wanted Ray to leave his wife Della Beatrice Howard and live with her and their son, but Ray refused. Margie and the Raelettes performed on several of Ray's songs, but during the 1960s, Margie's relationship with Ray began to fall apart and she later started to use alcohol and heroin, and her career began to suffer. In 1964 the Raelettes released the single "A Lover's Blues" which featured Margie on lead vocals, but this was the last song that she recorded with Ray, because in July 1964 during a tour in Europe, Ray fired her from The Raelettes during an argument.[5]

Unsuccessful solo career and drug addiction[edit]

After leaving the Raelettes, Margie signed a record deal with Mercury Records and released five singles, two in 1965 and three in 1967, but the singles failed to hit the charts and were later shelved, which increased her use of alcohol and more damaging drugs.[2] In March 1966, Margie married jazz singer Robert Fulson, who was the brother of singer Lowell Fulson.[6] On September 7, 1967, while driving in Texas, Margie was injured with Robert, when her car was hit by a truck carrying lumber. She suffered neck injuries and slight loss of hearing in her right ear.[7] She was dropped from Mercury in October 1967. Margie and Robert divorced in January 1968.[8] Margie later signed another record deal with Sound Stage 7 in February 1968 and released two singles, but they also failed to hit the charts and ended shelved as well, and she was dropped from the label in September 1969.[2] In 1970 she became mentally unstable, faded away from the public eye, withdrew from singing, and continued to use drugs and alcohol for the remainder of her life.[9]


Margie died in New York, New York on July 14, 1973, aged 38. The official cause of her death is unknown since no autopsy was performed on her. Most sources claim it was caused by a heroin overdose, but there are some rumors saying that she died in a car crash or from cancer. Some sources also claim that she was facing poverty around the time of her death. She is buried at New Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Register, Georgia.[1][10]

In popular culture[edit]

Margie was portrayed by Regina King in the 2004 film Ray. King received her first NAACP Image Award and Satellite Award for her performance.


  1. ^ a b c Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 105. ISBN 978-0313344237.
  2. ^ a b c d Tom de Jong, "Margie Hendrix", Retrieved 4 October 2016
  3. ^ Mike Evans, Ray Charles: The Birth of Soul, Music Sales Limited, 2009
  4. ^ Michael Lydon, Ray Charles: Man and Music, Routledge, 2004, p.149
  5. ^ Lydon, p.242
  6. ^ "After breaking up with The Raelettes in '64, Margie Hendricks (Hendrix) signed with Mercury. Here she is with Lowel… | Ray charles, African american, After break up". Pinterest. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  7. ^ "Singer Injured In Car Mishap In Texas". Jet. 32 (22): 62. September 7, 1967.
  8. ^ "Ray Charles Video Museum: Ray Charles & The Raelettes". Ray Charles Video Museum. Retrieved 2020-09-09.
  9. ^ Meredith. "Margie Hendrix" Check |url= value (help). YouTube.
  10. ^ John Clemente, Girl Groups: Fabulous Females Who Rocked the World, AuthorHouse, 2013 , p.133

External links[edit]