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Charley Pride
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Charley Pride

Charley Frank Pride was born in Sledge, Mississippi, on March 18, 1938 to poor sharecroppers, and one of eleven children. Pride has become the only African American to carve out a major career in country music. As a result of his success, he was able to return to Sledge and purchase the cotton farm where he was born.

Charley Pride met his future wife, Rozene, while playing baseball in Memphis. They have two sons, Kraig and Dion, as well as a daughter, Angela. They also have two grandsons, Carlton and Malachi. The family resides in Dallas, Texas.

Pride played guitar and sang while touring as a baseball player. When it became clear that he would not become a major player, he turned to music as a full time career. He was introduced to producer, Jack Clement, who gave him two songs to record, "The Snakes Crawl at Night" and "Atlantic Coastal Line."

Clement introduced Pride’s two song demo to the head of RCA Records in Nashville, Chet Atkins, who signed him to the label. Atkins and Clement considered not disclosing that he was black until the records were established, but Atkins decided that it was unfair to all concerned. Pride’s first single was broadcast in January 1966. Within a short period of time “The Snakes Crawl at Night” and “Before I Met You” became hits.

Pride achieved more than 36 number one country singles and sold over 70 million albums, 31 gold and 4 platinum - including one quadruple platinum. On RCA Records, Charley Pride is second in sales only to Elvis Presley.

"Kiss An Angel Good Morning" was a million-selling crossover single and helped Pride land Country Music Association Awards as Entertainer of the Year in 1971 and Top Male Vocalist in 1971 and 1972.

Other Pride standards include "Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone?" "I'm So Afraid of Losing You Again," "Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town," "Someone Loves You Honey," "When I Stop Leaving I'll be gone," "Burgers and Fries," and "You're So Good When You're Bad". Like many other country performers, he has paid tribute to Hank Williams with performances of Hank Williams classics "Kaw-Liga" and "Honky Tonk Blues" on his number 1 album, There's a Little Bit of Hank in Me.

In 1994, Charley released his autobiography, Pride: The Charley Pride Story (published by William Morrow).

On May 1, 1993, Pride accepted an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry, the first African-American in its over 70 year history.

In June 1994, Pride was honored by the Academy of Country Music with its prestigious Pioneer Award.

In January 1996, Charley Pride was honored with a Trumpet Award by Turner Broadcasting, marking outstanding African-American Achievement. His "Roll On Mississippi" was considered as the official song of his home state, a stretch of Mississippi highway was named for him, and he headlined a special Christmas performance for President and Mrs. Clinton at the White House.

In July 1999, Charley received his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On October 4, 2000, Charley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His name was announced by Hall of Famer, Brenda Lee.

Pride's most recent album is Comfort of Her Wings (2003)on Music City Records.

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