Charley Pride is a highly acclaimed and pioneering country singer, songwriter, and guitarist with a whopping 36 #1 hits on the Country charts who became famous during the late 1960s-early 1970s. His best known songs include his signature classic, "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'" (1971). A warm baritone with a smooth and laid-back style, he is a country music legend with a great deal of crossover appeal who is one of very few African American performing artists to have made it to the top in this genre.
Born in Sledge, Mississippi to a family of sharecroppers, Charley Pride began his musical training at age 14 when he taught himself to play the guitar. Prior to becoming a country music singer, Pride was a semi-professional baseball player who began in his teens pitching for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League and several other minor league teams. After serving two years in the Army, he tried to resume his baseball career but sustained a number of injuries to his throwing arm that kept him out of the major leagues. While continuing to play baseball, he began pursuing a music career and was encouraged by Red Sovine to move to Nashville to further his opportunities. Pride got his big break in 1966 when he was signed by Chet Atkins of RCA, eventually becoming among that record label's all-time top-selling acts.
Pride made his debut on the Country charts in 1966 with "Just Between You And Me" which became a Top 10 hit and earned him his first Grammy nomination the following year. His long and nearly-unbroken string of 36 chart-toppers began in 1969 with "All I Have To Offer You (Is Me)" and ended in 1983 with "Night Games," with many of these songs also crossing over to the Pop/Rock charts. His best known song, "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'" (1971), which was his eighth song to top the Country charts, also became a Top 40 hit on the Pop/Rock charts and led to his winning the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year (1971) and Male Vocalist of the Year (1971, 1972) awards.
Charley Pride's other honors and accolades include being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1993 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He was honored in 1994 with the Pioneer Award by the Academy of Country Music, and he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He has also performed at the White House for Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
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