This was written and originally recorded by a country singer named Don Gibson in 1958. His version was released as the B-side of his #7 hit "Oh Lonesome Me," which he wrote the same day. Kitty Wells, who was a very popular country singer, recorded this later in 1958. Her version was a huge country hit, and was on the carts at the same time as Gibson's version.
Charles was known as a gospel and R&B singer, but he defied convention and decided to record an album of country and western songs. His producer, Sid Feller, put together tapes containing about 150 classic country songs so Charles could choose which ones to record. Included on the tapes was "I Can't Stop Loving You," which Charles remembered from when he would listen to The Grand Ole Opry.
The resulting album, Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music, was wildly successful, selling about 700,000 copies the first month it was released. For Ray Charles, country and R&B were a natural fit. "You take country music, you take black music, it's exactly the same thing," he said.
At first, this was not released as a single, but many DJs played it from the album and it started getting popular. A white singer named Tab Hunter heard Charles' version and recorded his own, which was rushed out as a single. This infuriated Charles, so ABC Records quickly edited down the 4-minute album version and released it as a single with lots of publicity, including a full page ad in Billboard magazine. Charles' version became a huge hit and went to #1 on the US Pop, R&B and Easy Listening charts.
Ray Charles recorded the album at United Western Recorders in Los Angeles, which is where Brian Wilson later recorded the Beach Boys Pet Sounds album. Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music was recorded live to a 2-track recorder with the room providing the reverb. Bill Putnam, who owned the studio, was the engineer on the session and helped Charles coax a rich, warm sound out of the equipment. Recording live eliminated any distortion that could appear when mixing a song, which was a problem at the time.
This won the Grammy for Best Rhythm and Blues Recording, 1962.