Who is Charley Pride?
Charley Pride was an American country music singer, musician, and former baseball player. He was known as the first black country music superstar. He was the second best-selling performer on RCA Records after Elvis for many years and one of very few Black American performers to find success in country music. In 1971 he won the Country Music Association’s entertainer of the year award.
Charley Pride was born on March 18, 1934, in Sledge, Mississippi, to poor sharecropper parents. He was the fourth of eleven children, eight boys and three girls. His father intended to name him Charl Frank Pride, but due to a clerical error on his birth certificate, his legal name was Charley Frank Pride.
Charley’s childhood was marked by poverty and discrimination. He and his family often went hungry, and he was subjected to racism from a young age. Despite the challenges he faced, Charley was a bright and talented child. He loved to sing and play the guitar, and he dreamed of one day becoming a professional musician.
Charley Pride Died in 2020 at the age of 86.
Charley Pride met his wife, Rozene, while playing baseball in Memphis, Tennessee. They married in 1956, while Charley was on leave from Army basic training for the holidays. Charley Pride and his wife had three children together: Kraig and Dion, two males, and Angela, a daughter. They had five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren as well. Dallas was home to the family.
Charley had an adulterous romance with an unmarried Dallas flight attendant in the late 1970s. In 1979, the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son, Tyler. Charley was sued for child support in 1990. Charley denied paternity of the boy, but a DNA paternity test in 1992 confirmed that Charley was the father. A Texas court ordered Charley to pay child support until Tyler reached the age of 18.
Charley and Rozene remained married until Charley’s death in 2020.
Charley Pride had a net worth of $40 million at the time of his death in December 2020. His net worth today would be the same, as his assets have not diminished since his death.
After graduating from high school, Charley joined the United States Army. He served in the Korean War, where he was awarded a Purple Heart. After the war, Charley returned to Mississippi and began working as a truck driver. He also began performing at local clubs and events.
In 1966, Charley signed a recording contract with RCA Records. His first single, “The Snakes Crawl at Night,” was a minor hit. However, it was his second single, “Just Between You and Me,” that made him a star. The song reached number one on the Billboard country charts and launched Charley’s career as a country music superstar.
Over the next two decades, Charley went on to have 56 number one hits on the Billboard country charts. He won 29 CMA awards, including entertainer of the year in 1971. He was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
Charley Pride was a pioneer in country music. He was the first African American artist to achieve mainstream success in the genre. He broke down racial barriers and paved the way for other Black American artists to follow in his footsteps.
Charley Pride was a talented singer, musician, and songwriter.
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