Charley Pride life and biography

Charley Pride picture, image, poster

Charley Pride biography

Date of birth : 1938-03-18
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Sledge, Mississippi
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-03-07
Credited as : Country music singer, RCA Records,

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Charley Frank Pride is an American country music singer. His smooth baritone voice was featured on thirty-six number-one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

Charley Pride was born on March 18, 1938, in Sledge, Miss. He grew up as one of 11 children to poor sharecroppers. He unofficially started his music career as a baseball player in the Negro American League with the Memphis Red Sox, singing and playing guitar on the team bus between ballparks. Self-taught on a guitar bought at age 14 from Sears Roebuck, Pride would also join various bands on stage as the team crossed the country.

During a trip to Nashville, Pride was introduced to producer Jack Clement, who arranged a two-hour recording session for him. The result was a two-song demo that landed him a recording contract with RCA Records after producer Chet Atkins liked what he heard. In 1966, Pride's first single, "The Snakes Crawl at Night," hit the airwaves. His race was kept hidden from the fans through the release of his first three singles. Making one of his first big public appearances at a show in Detroit, Pride stepped on stage and was greeted with loud applause, which got lower and lower in volume until near silence as most of the audience began to make the realization that he was a black country singer. But Pride's music prevailed and, after the show, he was besieged with autograph seekers.

Pride has topped the Billboard country singles chart 29 times, with hits like "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" and "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone." He was named the CMA's entertainer of the year and male vocalist in 1971, and in 1972, he became the first artist to win back-to-back male vocalist trophies. His RCA singles routinely reached the Top 10 through 1984.

By the mid-1980s, Pride's prowess in business was beginning to equal that of his recording career. During this period, he split his time between his music and his business activities in banking, broadcasting and real estate. He is the major stockholder in the largest minority owned bank in Texas, the First Texas Bank. He has owned four diverse radio stations and extensive real estate holdings across the country, including the Charley Pride Theater in Branson, Mo. Pride stays actively involved in the music industry through his publishing company, The Pride Group, and his production company.

In 1993, Pride was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, 26 years after he first played as a guest. He was awarded the prestigious Academy of Country Music's Pioneer Award in 1994 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

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