The Legendary Career
Charley Pride is one of the most influential and groundbreaking artists in country music history. Born in 1934 in Sledge, Mississippi, Pride grew up working cotton fields and playing baseball. In the 1950s, Pride pursued a career in professional baseball, playing for the Memphis Red Sox and other Negro league teams. However, his greater passion was for music.
Pride got his start performing in nightclubs around Montana in the early 1960s. His smooth baritone voice and unique style, combining country, blues, and gospel, quickly gained attention. Pride landed an audition with RCA Records in 1965 and soon after released his debut single “The Snakes Crawl at Night.” Over the next decades, Pride racked up an astounding number of Top 10 hits and became the best-selling artist on the RCA Records label since Elvis Presley.
Some of Pride’s most iconic and beloved songs include “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” and “Mountain of Love.” While country radio stations were hesitant at first to play a black country musician, Pride eventually broke barriers and paved the way for other African-American country artists.
Throughout his career, Charley Pride won many of country music’s top accolades. He is a 3-time Grammy award winner, including Best Country Vocal Performance Male in 1971 for “Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs.” He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Some of his other honors include Entertainer of the Year from the CMA in 1971, several ACM awards, and over 30 #1 hits on the country charts.
While Pride officially retired from touring in 2017, his cultural impact and legendary catalog of songs have cemented his place as a true country music icon. Pride overcame racial barriers and opened doors for generations of diverse artists in Nashville and beyond. His smooth voice and mix of country, gospel, and blues created a unique sound that still resonates with fans today.