Artist News Obituaries

Charley Pride dies

By | Published on Monday 14 December 2020

Charley Pride

Country musician Charley Pride died on Saturday, aged 86. His publicist confirmed that the death was as a result of complications related to COVID-19.

Among the many tributes paid to him over the weekend, Dolly Parton said on social media: “I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you. Rest in peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans”.

Also a professional baseball player in his young adult life, Pride’s music career received an early boost when the manager of his team – the East Helena Smelterites – paid him to sing for fifteen minutes before each game, which resulted in a boost in attendance. He later signed to RCA Victor, releasing his first single for the label, ‘The Snakes Crawl At Night’, in 1966.

In his subsequent recording career, he had over 50 top ten hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, including 30 number ones, becoming RCA Victor’s most successful artist since Elvis Presley. He was also one of only three African-Americans to become a ‘Grand Ole Opry Member’, an honour bestowed on the country genre’s most acclaimed musicians by the ‘Grand Ole Opry’ radio show.

The peak of Pride’s fame came in the 1970s, but he continued to record prolifically through the 1980s – releasing nearly 30 albums during those two decades. His output slowed from the 90s onwards, but he did continue to perform and release music, with his most recent album, ‘Music In My Heart’, released in 2017.