Charlie Pride, the first blockbuster star in country music, has helped sell millions of Baritone records on successes such as “Kiss a Angel Good Morning” and became the first block member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He is 86 years old.
Pride died Saturday in Dallas, According to Jeremy Westby of 2911 Media, a public relations firm.
“I’m so heartbroken, one of my dearest and old friends Charlie Pride has died. It’s even worse to know he’s gone from COVID-19. What a terrible, terrible virus. Charlie, we will always love you,” Dolly Parton tweeted.
Pride has released dozens of albums and has sold over 25 million records in a career beginning in the mid-1960s. 1971’s “Kiss a Angel Good Morning” was accompanied by “Is Anybody Goin” to San Anton, “Burgers and Fries”, “Mountain of Love” and “Someone Loves You Honey”.
He has won three Grammy Awards, more than 30 hits No. 1 between 1969 and 1984, won the Country Music Association’s Top Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year Awards in 1972, and entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
Acquired memorabilia for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, including a pair of shoes and his guitar from the Smithsonian Pride in Washington.
Ronnie Millsap called him a “pioneer” and said that Millsap could never have gone to Nashville without his encouragement. “It brings tears to my heart to hear this news,” he said in a statement.
Until the early 1990s, when Cleve Francis came along, Pride was the only black country singer to sign a major label.
In 1993, he joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Speaking to The Dallas Morning News in 1992, they asked me, “Is this the first colorful singer?” “Then it was ‘the first Negro country singer;’ Then `the first black country singer. ′ Now I am the` first African-American country singer. ‘It’s about the only thing that has changed. This country is racially conscious, so it ate with colors and pigments. I call it `skin hangups’ – it’s a disease.”
Sher Cropper’s son grew proud of the sledge in Mississippi. He has seven brothers and three sisters.
When he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 as part of the Mississippi Governor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, Pride said he had never focused on race.
“My older sister once said, ‘Why are you singing their music?’ ” However, we all understand what the syndrome is. Look, I’m never accepted it as a person, so I really believe in where I am today. ”
As a teenager before starting his singing career, he was a pitcher and iel tfielder in the Negro American League with the Memphis Red Sox and in the Pioneer League in Montana.
After playing minor league baseball for a few years, he ended up in Helena, Montana, where he worked during the day at the zinc smelting plant and played country music at nightclubs.
After trying out with the New York Mets, he visited Nashville and entered country music, where RCA Records head Chet Atkins heard and signed two of his demo tapes.
To ensure that Pride was judged on his race rather than on his music, his first few singles were sent to radio stations without a promotional photo. After his identity was known, some domestic radio stations refused to play his music.
For the most part, Pride said he was well received. Early in his career, he kept the white audience comfortable when he joked about his “permanent tan”.
“Music was the greatest interlocutor on earth in 1992,” he said. “Once people hear the integrity in my throat and when they hear my project and see my delivery, it dispels any fear or bad feeling they may have.”
Throughout his career, he often sang positive songs instead of the sad ones associated with country music.
“Music is a beautiful way of expressing oneself and I really believe that music should not be taken as a protest,” he told the Associated Press in 1985. “You can go a long way in anything – singing, acting, whatever – and becoming political is the point where you stop being an entertainer.”
In 1994, he wrote his autobiography “Pride: The Charlie Pride Story”, in which he revealed that he was slightly manic depressed.
He underwent surgery in 1997 to remove a tumor from his right laryngeal cord.
He recognized 30 years of success in 1997 and received the Living Legend Award from The Nashville Network / Music City News.
“I want to be remembered as a good man who tried to be a good entertainer and made people happy, a good American who paid his taxes and lived a good life,” he said in 1985. “I did my best and contributed my part.”