Artists and industry friends reflect on the passing of Charley Pride, a singer, musician, guitarist, business owner, and professional baseball player.
His greatest musical success came in the early to mid-1970s, when he became the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley.
During the peak years of his recording career (1966–87), he garnered 52 top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 30 of which made it to number one. Pride was one of only three African-Americans to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
“My friendship with Charley goes back to his very first tour with Willie Nelson that I was privileged to be a part of also. As big as his voice was, his personality was even bigger… and his heart was even bigger than that. He loved jokes, loved stories, loved to laugh…. and loved us. I will miss all of this. He’s leaving us some wonderful memories. My heart goes out to Rozene’, his family, his Opry family and his many friends and fans.”–Jeannie Seely
“Saddened to hear of the passing of the great Charley Pride. I found him to be a man full of joy with a peaceful heart. My wife Robin was a huge fan and she often comes to me in the morning singing “Kiss An Angel Good Morning,” I oblige, and respond with “and love her like the devil when you get back home.” Charley will be missed, but his music will live on.” –John Berry
“We’ve been lucky enough to work with Charlie through the years, going back to the late 1970’s. He was a great singer, a trailblazer, and a genuine legend. More importantly, he was a really nice guy – a true gentleman!” –Marlon Hargis, Exile
“When Exile first became involved in Country Music, it wasn’t easy for a pop group like us trying to be accepted. Charley lent us his support and encouragement at a time when we needed it the most. We will be forever grateful. Rest well, brother.” –JP Pennington, Exile
“I remember singing “Mountain of love” at the battle of the bands at the Texas State Fair at age 16. Mr. Charlie Pride was and will always be a trailblazer to all people and to all country music lovers. He was always first class to me, always! Rest In Peace Mr. Pride.” –Tim Rushlow
“So heartbreaking to hear about the passing of country music legend and Grand Ole Opry member, Charley Pride. Loved his music, his bravery, and what he stood for to pave a path for other artists. Prayers for his family, friends, and fans. He will be truly missed. His music will forever live on and he will always be such an inspiration.” –Taylon Hope
“A great entertainer! Much loved at the Grand Ole Opry. Charley made some great records and his legacy will live long!” –David Ball
He took pride in his music and giving advice to younger artists. What an honor it was to be around him on several different occasions. The world is a better place because of the person he was and the songs he sang. Thank you Charley Pride for sharing your smile and your beautiful gift. Rest In Peace.” –Darin & Brooke Aldridge
“Charley had a voice identifiable in one note. He was like a machine in the studio…a one take master even if he sang a song more than once. He never wanted to be remembered because he was ‘the black guy’ who sang country music. No. He wanted to be known first as a great country singing entertainer…then as a devoted husband and father…and that he chose great songs. Though Charley broke the racial sound barrier in every way…he didn’t want to ever be signed as ‘the black guy’. He told me once that RCA signed him for his voice…they didn’t care if he was pink. They signed him for how he sounded. That’s what Charley wants remembered. And oh…that voice. Charley…we will never forget you!” –Devon O’Day host of Main Street Nashville and Devon O’Day’s Nashville
“Hard to hear we’ve lost another country music legend. Thank you Charley for the amazing music and influence. You will be missed greatly!” –Noah Garner
“I am so deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Charley Pride. He was a legend who paved the way for so many. My Grandpa was always a huge fan so we have a collection of Mr. Pride’s vinyl records that we cherish. It makes my heart so happy that he received the CMA Lifetime Achievement Award this year and was able to perform at the awards. He will live on forever through his music.” –Dani-elle Kleha