Who is Charley Pride - Pioneering Black Country Music Star
Charley Pride Early Life
|Charley Pride. Photo: ABC|
Charley Pride, in full Charley Frank Pride, (born March 18, 1934, Sledge, Mississippi, U.S.—died December 12, 2020, Dallas, Texas), American country music singer who broke new ground in the 1960s by becoming the most successful African American star that the field had known to date and a significant next-generation standard-bearer for the hard-core honky-tonk country music sound.
The son of poor, cotton-picking, sharecropping parents and one of 11 children, Pride was attracted in his youth both by Grand Ole Opry radio broadcasts featuring the “King of Country Music” Roy Acuff and honky-tonk artists Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb and by baseball. He received his first guitar at age 14 but initially pursued a career as a pitcher and outfielder in the Negro American League—all the while singing country songs for teammates on bus trips. In 1960 he moved to west-central Montana, where he played minor-league and semiprofessional baseball and performed music in local nightclubs. After a disc jockey in Helena, Montana, introduced Pride to country stars Red Sovine and Red Foley, Pride pursued a publishing and recording contract in Nashville, inspired and encouraged by those two musicians (especially Sovine), according to Britannica.
Charley Pride Career
A sharecropper's son from Mississippi, Pride became one of the first Black men to become a major star in genre where most of the biggest hitmakers are white. Rising to prominence in the 1960s and '70s, Pride recorded dozens of songs that topped the country music charts, including "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" and "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone."
Pride had at least 30 no. 1 hits on the country music charts, and won nearly every major award in available to a country musician. In all, Pride won three Grammys, including "Best Male Country Vocal Performance" in 1972 as well as several awards from the Country Music Association, who named him their Entertainer of the Year in 1971. His final performance was on November 11 at the CMA Awards, where he performed "Kiss and Angel Good Mornin'" with Jimmie Allen.
|Photo: The New York Times|
Alongside his competitive accolades, Pride gained nearly every other honor awarded to someone of his stature in the genre, including inductions into the Country Music Hall of Fame, in 2000, and the Grand Ole Opry — the mecca of country music where Pride first performed in 1967 — in 1993.
Pride's accomplishments weren't just confined to the Nashville scene. Honors came from as far away as Hollywood, including a star on the Walk of Fame in 1999 and a lifetime achievement from the Grammy awards in 2017. He also reportedly served as the inspiration for the character Tommy Brown – a fictional Black country music performer played by the actor Timothy Brown – in Robert Altman's sprawling 1975 film Nashville.
Pride started singing while he was still playing baseball, but didn't move to Nashville right away. He signed with RCA in 1965 and in 1967 released "Just Between You and Me," which became his first country music top 10. From there he never looked back, racking up more than 60 all together over the next decade and a half, as reported by NPR.
Charley Pride's Awards
At least three Grammy Awards. Named Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year by Country Music Association, 1970. Billboard 's Trendsetter Award, 1970. Entertainer of the Year Award from Music Operators of America, 1970. Named top male country artist of the decade (1970s) by Cash Box magazine, 1980, as Vnexplorer reports.
Charley Pride Personal Life
|Charley Pride and his wife. Photo: Wide Open Country|
He was also a successful businessman in North Dallas, Texas, focusing on real estate and bank investing. He Pride married Rozene in 1956, and they have two sons and a daughter, Carlton, Charles, and Angela.
Charley Pride died aged 86
Charley Pride, who sold millions of records and was the first Black performer to become a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, among many other honors, has died at age 86. A statement posted on the singer's website said Pride passed away in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday from complications due to COVID-19, NPR reports.
Former president George W Bush led the tributes, describing the Mississippian as”a fine gentleman with a great voice”.
Pride was born in Sledge, Mississippi in 1934, to sharecropper parents, and went on to work on cotton fields, play professional baseball and serve in the US army before moving to Nashville in 1963 to pursue a career in music.
His final performance came weeks before his death, when he sang Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ during the CMA awards show at Nashville’s Music City Center on 11 November. It was a duet with Jimmie Allen, a rising black star in country music, and was watched by a TV audience of millions.
Pride made 52 Top 10 country hits, including 29 No 1s, and was the first African American performer to appear on the Grand Ole Opry stage since DeFord Bailey made his debut in the 1920s. Pride became an Opry member in 1993.
Dolly Parton was among the first to pay tribute to Pride on social media, writing: “I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It’s even worse to know that he passed away from Covid-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you. Rest In Peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans.”
|"I'm so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It's even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you," Dolly Parton’s tweet was cited by CBS News.|
| Who is Sir W. Arthur Lewis - pioneering economist and professor honored on Doodle? |
Sir W. Arthur Lewis (1915-1991) is the very first black instructor qualified professorship at Princeton. He also acquired more distinctions that will be elaborated in ...
| Who is Johnny Depp - Hollywood actor tries to revive his career after domestic-abuse allegations |
Johnny Depp is an A-list Hollywood actor, screenwriter, director, producer, musician. However, his career was on a downturn after allegations as a wife-beater from his ...
| Who is VJ Chitra -The Famous Indian Anchor and Actress |
If you are a fan of Indian movies and TV shows, you may know about VJ Chitra who is both beautiful and talented. Stay tuned ...