This exposure led to other singing opportunities around the Helena and Great Falls area. Eventually, through a series of fortuitous encounters with Country music stars and Nashville insiders, Pride’s talent was brought to the attention of Chet Atkins at RCA Victor in Nashville.
Pride’s debut single “The Snakes Crawl At Night” was released in 1966. Although his initial singles weren’t major hits, his third single “Just Between You and Me” caught fire in 1966, breaking into the Top 10 Country charts and earning Charley his first Grammy nomination.
Between 1966 and 1987, Pride amassed no fewer than 52) Top 10 Country hits, with more than 30 climbing to the top spot. His chart-toppers include “All I Have To Offer You Is Me,” “Burgers and Fries,” “I Don’t Think She’s In Love Anymore,” and his signature hit— 1971’s “Kiss An Angel Good Morning,” which sold more than a million singles and helped him win the Country Music Association’s “Entertainer of the Year” and “Top Male Vocalist” awards for that year. It also helped him land the “Best Male Country Vocal Performance” Grammy Award in 1972, an accolade that joined its place of honor alongside the two previous Grammy Awards that he had won in 1971 related to an earlier Gospel music album.
Pride is credited with helping to break color barriers by becoming the first African-American to become a force within the Country Music industry. Pride received the Pioneer Award from the Academy of Country Music in 1994 and was honored with an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He has also been a proud member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1993. Pride first performed on the Opry in 1967 and he was extended an invitation to join it shortly thereafter, although he was unable to commit at the time.
Baseball continues to play a role in Pride’s life. As part of an investment group spearheaded by Baseball Hall Of Fame pitcher, Nolan Ryan, Pride became one of the owners of the Texas Rangers major-league baseball team in 2010. Pride and his family have lived in Dallas, TX since 1969 and he has worked out with the Rangers annually during Spring training for decades.
As he celebrates his golden anniversary as a recording artist in 2016, Charley Pride will mark the distinction with several projects, which will be announced in the coming months—as well as maintaining a busy road schedule. Pride continues to perform concerts worldwide and has toured the United States, Canada, Ireland, The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand over the last several years.
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