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Music / Charley Pride

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Charley Frank Pride (1934-2020) an American singer, songwriter, and athlete. Pride is most known for being the most prominent black artist in the field of Country Music.

Born the son of a sharecropper in Sledge, Mississippi, Pride taught himself how to play guitar as a teenager. He first cut his teeth as a baseball player for the Negro American League, and then served in the United States Army. However, he had injured his arm in the Army and could not return to baseball, so he shifted his attention back to music.

After moving to Nashville at the encouragement of singer Red Sovine, he met producer Jack Clement, who submitted a demo tape of his to RCA Records' Nashville division. The label issued his debut single "The Snakes Crawl at Night" without a publicity photo, so as not to draw attention to his race. While neither this nor "Before I Met You" charted, he had his breakthrough with the Grammy-nominated "Just Between You and Me" later that same year.

By 1969, Pride had secured his first #1 hit with "All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)". He would go on to have more than 60 chart entries up until 1989, including 29 number-one hits. The last of these, 1983's "Night Games", would be the last #1 on the Hot Country Songs charts for an African American artist until Darius Rucker's "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" in 2008.

In 1971 he would receive a Grammy Award for Best Country Song for "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'", his best-known song. At one point he was RCA's second hottest-selling artist, behind only Elvis Presley.

Pride's songs are defined by his smooth baritone voice and lush production, along with constant lyrical themes about nostalgia ("Burgers and Fries"), his home state ("Roll On Mississippi"), and of course, love. He also had success with covers of Hank Williams ("Kaw-Liga", "Honky Tonk Blues", "You Win Again"), George Jones ("Why Baby Why"), and Johnny Rivers ("Mountain of Love").

Following his departure from RCA in 1986, he recorded for the independent 16th Avenue Records, and then various independent labels. Although he did not chart after 1989, he continued to tour throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century. Pride was featured on the Massive Multiplayer Crossover "Forever Country", a 2016 medley which honored the 50th anniversary of the Country Music Association; he would also perform "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" with fellow black country singer Jimmie Allen on the same association's ceremony in 2020.

Pride died at age 86 on December 12, 2020, due to complications from COVID-19.


  • Country (1966)
  • Pride of Country Music (1967)
  • The Country Way (1967)
  • Make Mine Country (1968)
  • Songs of Pride...Charley That Is (1968)
  • Charley Pride in Person (1969)
  • The Sensational Charley Pride (1969)
  • Just Plain Charley (1970)
  • Charley Pride's 10th Album (1970)
  • Christmas in My Hometown (1970)
  • From Me to You (1970)
  • I'm Just Me (1971)
  • Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs (1971)
  • Did You Think to Pray (1971)
  • A Sunshiny Day with Charley Pride (1972)
  • Songs of Love by Charley Pride (1972)
  • Charley Pride Presents the Pridesmen (1973)
  • Sweet Country (1973)
  • Amazing Love (1973)
  • Country Feelin' (1974)
  • Pride of America (1974)
  • Charley (1975)
  • The Happiness of Having You (1975)
  • The Pridesmen (1975)
  • Sunday Morning with Charley Pride (1975)
  • She's Just an Old Love-Turned Memory (1977)
  • Someone Loves You Honey (1978)
  • Burgers and Fries (1978)
  • You're My Jamaica (1979)
  • There's a Little Bit of Hank in Me (1980)
  • Roll on Mississippi (1981)
  • Charlie Sings Everybody's Choice (1982)
  • Charley Pride Live (1982)
  • Charley Pride Sings Country Classics (1983)
  • Night Games (1983)
  • The Power of Love (1984)
  • Back to the Country (1986)
  • The Best There Is (1986)
  • After All This Time (1987)
  • I'm Gonna Love Her on the Radio (1988)
  • Moody Woman (1989)
  • My 6 Latest & 6 Greatest (1994)
  • Classics with Pride (1996)
  • Branson City Limits (1998)
  • A Tribute to Jim Reeves (2001)
  • Comfort of Her Wings (2003)
  • Choices (2011)
  • Music in My Heart (2017)

Tropes present in his work:

  • Bowdlerise: His cover of "I'm Gonna Hurt Her on the Radio" changed the word "hurt" to "love".
  • Chronological Album Title: Charley Pride's 10th Album.
  • Christmas Songs: The Christmas in My Hometown album.
  • Cover Version: 1980's There's a Little Bit of Hank in Me, other than the title track, was composed entirely of Hank Williams covers. His renditions of "Honky Tonk Blues" and "You Win Again" both topped the country charts that year.
  • Cultural Rebel: By far the most prominent black artist in a historically white genre.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "I'll Be Leaving Alone"
  • Murder Ballad: "The Snakes Crawl at Night" has a man sentenced to death for murdering a man his wife was sleeping with.
  • The One Who Made It Out: "Wonder Could I Live There Anymore" is a nostalgic, but bittersweet, reflection from a narrator who was this.
  • The Power of Love: Referenced in his 1984 hit "The Power of Love".
  • Pun: He wasn't above a good pun based on his surname. One example is his second album, Pride of Country Music
  • Three Chords and the Truth: "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" uses only three chords and barely reaches two minutes.