Charley Pride, country music’s first Black star whose rich baritone on such hits as “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” helped sell many records and helped make him the primary Black member of the country and western Hall of Fame, has died. He was 86.
Pride died Saturday in Dallas of complications from Covid-19, consistent with Jeremy Westby of the general public relations firm 2911 Media.
Pride released dozens of albums and sold quite 25 million records during a career that began within the mid-1960s. Hits besides “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” in 1971 included “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” “Burgers and Fries,” “Mountain of affection ,” and “Someone Loves You Honey.”
He had three Grammy Awards, quite 30 No. 1 hits between 1969 and 1984, won the country and western Association’s Top Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year awards in 1972 and was inducted into the country and western Hall of Fame in 2000.
The Smithsonian in Washington acquired memorabilia from Pride, including a pair of trainers and one among his guitars, for the the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Until the first 1990s, when Cleve Francis came along, Pride was the sole Black country singer signed to a serious label.
In 1993, he joined the Grand Ole Opry cast in Nashville.
“They wont to inquire from me how it feels to be the
first colored country singer,‘” he told The Dallas Morning News in 1992. “Then it had beenfirst Negro country singer;’ then
first black country singer.′ Now I’m thefirst African-American country singer.′ That’s about the sole thing that’s changed. This country is so race-conscious, so ate-up with colors and pigments. I call it `skin hangups’ — it’s a disease.”
Pride was raised in Sledge, Mississippi, the son of a sharecropper. He had seven brothers and three sisters.
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