Country music pioneer and icon Charley Pride died December 12, 2020 in Dallas, Texas as a result of complications from the Covid-19 virus at the age of 86.

Long before there was Cowboy Troy, Darius Rucker, and Willie Jones; there was Charley Pride who crossed Country music’s colour line with “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” in 1971.  The three time Grammy Award winner later became the first Country music artist of colour – what Pride referred to as a “permanent tan” – to become a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Along with his Grammys and Hall of Fame induction, Pride has earned Country Music Association – CMA – Awards, is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, a Living Legend Award from the Nashville Network/Music City News, and a Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in the Arts from the Mississippi Governor’s Awards.

Pride went on to see eleven of his albums certified gold by the RIAA – Recording Industry Association of America – for selling over 500,000 copies in the U.S. and has sold over 25 million albums around the world.

Pride’s music has appeared on nearly two dozen film and television productions including “Supernatural”, “The Marty Stuart Show”, “The Wendell Baker Story”, “Designing Women”, and “Tome Sawyer”.  As himself, he has appeared on documentaries, award shows, talk shows, variety shows, “Hee Haw”, game shows, and special productions.

Pride has also appeared as an actor in half a dozen productions including “The All American Cowboy”, ”Nashville 99”, “Love is…Barbara Eden”, and “From Nashville with Music”.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture features a pair of boots and a guitar that belonged to Pride among its collection of artifacts.

Born March 18, 1934 in Sledge, Mississippi; Pride was one of eleven children born to a sharecropper. 

Before turning to a musical career, Pride played outfield and pitched in the Negro Leagues with the Memphis Red Sox and in Montana as a part of the Pioneer League until an arm injury ended his career.  A part owner in the Texas Rangers, Pride was as much a part of the team as the front office and the coaches; he would join the team each year for spring training where he would work out with the players…and give them a concert in the Club House.

Pride is survived by his wife of 64 years Rozene; children Kraig, Dion, and Angela/ and grandchildren.

Charley Pride discography:
“Country Charley Pride”
“The Country Way”
“The Pride of Country Music”
“Make Mne Country”
“Songs of Pride…Charley, That Is”
“In Person”
“The Sensational Charley Pride”
“Charley Pride’s 10th Album”
“Christmas in My Home Town”
“Just Plain Charley”
“Sings Heart Songs”
“I’m Just Me”
“From Me to You”
“Did You Think to Pray”
“A Sunshine Day with Charley Pride”
“Amazing Love”
“Songs of Love by Charley Pride”
“Sweet Country”
“Country Feelin’”
“Pride of America”
“The Happiness of Having You”
“Sunday Morning with Charley Pride”
“She’s Just an Old Love Turned Memory”
“Burgers and Fries”
“Someone Loves You Honey”
“You’re MyJamaica”
“There’s a Little Bit of Hank in Me”
“Roll on Mississippi”
“Charley Pride Live”
“Charley Sings Everybody’s Choice”
“Country Classics”
“Night Games”
Power of Love”
“Collector’s Series”
“Best There Is”
“Back to the Country”
“After All This Time”
“I’m Gonna Love Her on the Radio”
“Moody Woman”
“Country is My Soul”
“My 6 Latest & 6 Greatest”
“Classics with Pride”
“Branson City Limits”
“A Tribute to Jim Reeves”
“Comfort of Her Wings”
“Happy Christmas”
“Country Music Superstars: Charley Pride and Conway Twitty”
“Music in My Heart”

feature photo credit:By Republic Country Club – IMG_5600, CC BY 2.0,