Muni Ray Charles

Ray Charles
Photo by Andy Callahan

Mr. Eric Sir, take it away …

Who says Muni isn’t worth $2?

Last Thursday night I was in a foul mood and in desperate need of some cheering up before the ohGr show at Bottom of the Hill.

After I climbed aboard the 22 I heard a strange sound. It’s difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t heard it; a not-quite-falsetto whine tinged with a gravely roughness that — in a certain way — had a tune which could have been mistaken for music.

The bus cleared out when we hit 16th and Mission and that’s when I spotted the source of the sound: Muni Ray Charles.

Make no mistake, Muni Ray Charles is a black man wearing a suit and sunglasses (at 9pm, no less) who “sings” in his own unusual way.

Passengers kept their distance as Muni Ray Charles rocked himself out like an overwound wind-up toy. Like most other passengers, I was ultimately unsuccessful in suppressing my laughter. His performance was so vigorously impassioned it was impossible to stay in a bad mood for long.

A few stops after Mission, Muni Ray Charles finished the performance, fist-bumped a few passengers, yelled “BACK DOOR!” and was on his way.


  • fermata

    yes, I’ve seen him a few times at the Market St. 24-Hour Fitness too. When not singing, he’s usually trying to talk to girls.

  • Stevie

    Back in 2007 this guy was on the L in the Sunset a lot. I was always under the impression that there wasn’t actually any music in those headphones and that he was just trying to make people really uncomfortable (and succeeding).

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