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Charley Pride
Charley-Pride 1981.JPEG
Pride performing at the Capital Centre on the January 1981 Inauguration Day
Background information
Birth name Charley Frank Pride
Born (1934-03-18)March 18, 1934
Sledge, Mississippi, U.S.
Died December 12, 2020(2020-12-12) (aged 86)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active 1952–2020
  • RCA
  • 16th Avenue
  • Music City

Charley Frank Pride (March 18, 1934 – December 12, 2020) was an American singer, musician, guitarist, business owner, and professional baseball player. His greatest musical success came in the early to mid-1970s, when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley. During the peak years of his recording career (1966–87), he garnered 52 top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 30 of which made it to number one. He also won the Entertainer of the Year award at the Country Music Association Awards in 1971.

Pride was one of only three African-Americans to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry (the others are DeFord Bailey and Darius Rucker). He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

Early life

Pride was born on March 18, 1934, in Sledge, Mississippi, the fourth of 11 children of poor sharecroppers. His father intended to name him Charl Frank Pride, but owing to a clerical error on his birth certificate, his legal name was Charley Frank Pride. Eight boys and three girls were in the family. His elder brother, Mack Pride Jr., played Negro league baseball before having an active role in ministry. Pride married Rozene Cohran in 1956.

Music career and rise to fame

Pride was known to sing at baseball games. He was encouraged to pursue a career in music and caught the eye of record producer Chet Atkins who signed Pride a record deal in 1965. Following that year, Pride released and recorded his debut song "The Snakes Crawl out at Night" which played on the radio but didn't chart. It wasn't until 1969 when he released the record "From Me to You" that he became more well known.

In 1971 Pride topped the Billboard charts with the song "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin." Pride also played concerts internationally in Northern Ireland in 1975. In 1981, Pride sang for Ronald Reagan at his Inauguration. The same year he released the album "There's A Little Bit of Hank in Me, where he does his own versions of songs which were first done by Hank Williams.

In 1994, Pride published his autobiography.

Personal life

Pride and his wife Rozene lived in Dallas, Texas. In 2010, Pride had two sons and a daughter. One of his sons plays in a band.

Pride became an investor for the Texas Rangers and could be regularly seen at their games.

Pride died in Dallas, Texas on December 12, 2020 of complications from COVID-19. He was 86 years old.

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