Charley Pride, singer par excellence, succumbed to death on Saturday, in Dallas, Texas, due to COVID-19 complications. The immensely talented singer began his career serving in the army. When he played baseball he began singing but didn’t move to Nashville till later.
His achievements and awards are legendary. Some of them are as follows:
- 60 country music top 10 releases
- At least 30 no.1 hits
- First Black performer to become a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame
- Three Grammys
- Entertainer of the Year 1971 by Country Music Association
- Inducted in 2000 into the Country Music Hall of Fame
- Inducted into Grand Ole Opry — the Mecca of Country Music — in 1993
- Star on the Walk of Fame, in Hollywood in 1999
- Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys in 2017
Before receiving the Lifetime Achievement Grammy, he told NPR that he did not like to be labeled as a pioneer.
“I have never seen anything but the staunch American Charley Pride,” he says. “When I got into it, they used different descriptions. They’ll say, ‘Charley, how did it feel to be the Jackie Robinson of country music?’ or ‘How did it feel to be the first colored country singer?’” Pride said.
“It don’t bother me, other than I have to explain it you — how I maneuvered around all these obstacles to get to where I am today. I’ve got a great-grandson and daughter, and they’re gonna be asking them that too if we don’t get out of this crutch we all been in all these years of trying to get free of all that, you see? Y’all. ‘them’ and ‘us.’”
He performed “Kiss and Angel Good Mornin’” with Jimmie Allen on November 11, at the CMA awards. Who would have thought that this was to be his final performance?
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