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Country music black superstar Charley Pride dies at age 86

He won three Grammy Awards, recorded more than 30 No. 1 hits between 1969 and 1984, and was awarded the Country Music Association’s Top Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year in 1972. Was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Country Music Association last month.

“He broke the barrier and did something no one had done,” Darius Lacquer said on Twitter. “Heaven has one of the best people I know.” Tanya Tucker tweeted, “I am very grateful to be able to sing with him.” Billy Ray Cyrus called him a “gentleman,” a “legend,” and a “true pioneer.”

The Smithsonian in Washington has obtained a souvenir from Pride, including boots and one of his guitars, for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Ronnie Milsap called him a “pioneer” and said that without his encouragement, Millsap would never go to Nashville. “When I hear this news, a part of my heart is torn apart,” he said in a statement.

Another Black Country Star, Deford Bailey, who was a member of the Grand Ole Opry from 1927 to 1941, came before Pride. But until the early 1990s, when Cleeve Francis appeared, Pride was the only black country singer to sign a major label. In 1993, he participated in the Nashville Oplicast.

“They were asking me how they felt to be the’first color country singer’. Then it was “the first black country singer”. Then “the first black country singer”. I am now the “first African-American country singer”. That’s all that has changed. This country is race conscious, so I ate it with colors and pigments. .. I call it a “skin hang”-it’s a disease. “

Pride grew up in Sledge, Mississippi, the son of a peasant. He had seven brothers and three sisters.

In 2008, while receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Art Excellence, Pride said he had never focused on race.

“My sister once said,’Why are you singing their music?'” Pride said. “But we all understand what our syndrome was. You see, I’ve never accepted it as an individual. I really believe that’s why I’m today. . “

As a young man before starting his singing career, he was a pitcher and outfielder in the Black American League with the Memphis Red Sox and the Pioneer League in Montana.

After playing minor league baseball for a few years, he went to Helena, Montana, where he worked at a zinc smelter during the day and played country music at a nightclub at night.

Pride has been part of the Texas Rangers-owned group for the past decade, and the team raises the flag in his memory on Sunday and Monday with the half-mast of Globe Life Field and Globe Life Park.

“The Texas Rangers have joined the world of country music in memory of Charley Pride’s loss. Pride was a legendary performer who entertained millions of fans in the United States and around the world, but this franchise I remember him as a true friend of mine, “the team said in a statement.

After a tryout with the New York Mets, Pride visited Nashville and broke into country music when RCA Records director Chet Atkins heard two of his demo tapes and signed him.

His first few singles were sent to the radio station without promotional photos to ensure that the pride was judged by his music rather than his race. After his identity became known, radio stations in some countries refused to play his music.

But most of the time, Pride said he was well received. Early in his career, he reassured a white audience when he joked about his “permanent tan.”

“Music is the biggest communicator on the planet. When people hear honesty in my voice, listen to my projects and see my deliveries, they erase the anxieties and bad feelings they might have. I did. “

Throughout his career, he sang positive songs instead of sad songs often associated with country music.

“Music is a beautiful way to express yourself, and I sincerely believe that music should not be considered a protest,” he told The Associated Press in 1985. “Singing, acting, etc. can go too far and be politicized. The point at which you are no longer an entertainer.”

In 1994, he wrote his autobiography, Pride: Charley Pride Story, which revealed that he had mild manic depression. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor from his right vocal cord in 1997.

“Charley Pride was a pioneer in breaking down country music barriers with his amazing voice and generous spirit, as his hero Jackie Robinson had in baseball,” said director and producer Ken.・ Burns tweeted.

He received the Living Legend Award from Nashville Network / Music City News in 1997, celebrating 30 years of achievement.

“I want to remember that I was a good entertainer, a good American who made people happy, paid taxes, and lived a good life,” he said in 1985. Please do your best and contribute to my role. “

He survived by his wife Rosene, who married in 1956. Craig, Dion and Angela have three children. And some grandchildren.


Mark Kennedy can be found at

Country music black superstar Charley Pride dies at age 86

Source link Country music black superstar Charley Pride dies at age 86

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