Charley F.Pride,the first Black country music performer to gain wide acceptance,was born in Sledge,MS,on this date in 1938. The Grammy-winning singer performed on the “Grand Ole Opry” in 1967.
Charley F.Pride,the first Black country music performer to gain wide acceptance,was born in Sledge,MS,on March 18, 1938. The Grammy-winning singer performed on the “Grand Ole Opry” in 1967.
Charley Pride was born on March 18, 1938, into a sharecropping family with 11 children. Drawn to the radio music of Hank Williams and Roy Acuff, he acquired a Sears Roebuck guitar and taught himself to play at age 14.
Charley Pride is a timeless everyman, revered by his musical peers and adored by countless millions of fans around the globe. His golden baritone voice has transcended race and spanned the generations.
Charley Pride unofficially started his music career in the late 1950s as a ballplayer with the Negro American League’s Memphis Red Sox singing and playing guitar on the team bus between ballparks. Self-taught on a guitar bought at the age 14 from Sears Roebuck, Pride would join various bands’ onstage as he and the team roved the country.
After a tryout with the New York Mets, Pride decided to return to his Montana home via Nashville. It was there he met Jack Johnson, who upon hearing the singer perform, sent him on his way with the promise of a management contract and a newly forged relationship that would last for over a decade.
A year later, Pride returned to the Music City and was introduced to producer, Jack Clement, who gave him several songs to learn. When Clement heard Pride’s renditions, he immediately asked the fledgling singer if he could cut two songs in two hours. Pride agreed, and “The Snakes Crawl at Night” and “Atlantic Coastal Line” were recorded.
Three months later, Pride’s two song demo landed in the hands of already legendary RCA Records head, Chet Atkins, who was so moved he immediately signed him to the label. Pride’s first single hit the airwaves in January 1966 and just like that his star was on the rise. Within a short period of time “The Snakes Crawl at Night” was climbing the charts with his “Before I Met You” closing in on its tail.
Charley Pride has always set his own goals. One of those goals was to become an internationally known artist. He achieved this by performing, in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Fiji as well as the provinces of Canada. Charley still tours these countries today and even takes in a few extra countries, on USO Tours, entertaining our service men and women who are stationed overseas.
Between 1969, when he first hit #1 on the singles chart with “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)” and 1984, when he commanded the top spot again with “Every Heart Should Have One,” Pride scored more than 36 number one country singles.
Over the past thirty years, Pride has remained one of the Top 20 best-selling country artists of all-time. His incredible legacy includes 36 #1 hit singles, over 70 million albums sold, 31 gold and 4 platinum albums – including one quadruple platinum. On RCA Records, Charley Pride is second in sales only to Elvis Presley.
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