Charley Pride - Honoring Black History
Charley Frank Pride (1934 – 2020) was an American singer, guitarist, and professional baseball player. His greatest musical success came in the early to mid 1970s, when he was the best-selling performer for RCA Records since Elvis Presley. During the peak years of his recording career (1966–1987), he had 52 top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 30 of which made it to number one. He won the Entertainer of the Year award at the Country Music Association Awards in 1971.
While he was active in baseball, Pride had been encouraged to join the music business by country stars such as Red Sovine and Red Foley His break came when Chet Atkins at RCA Victor heard a demonstration tape and got Pride a contract.
He experienced enormous success with “Just Between You and Me”, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for the song the next year. In the late summer of 1966, on the strength of his early releases, he was booked for his first large show, in Detroit's Olympia Stadium. Since no biographical information had been included with those singles, few of the 10,000 country fans who came to the show knew Pride was Black, and discovered the fact only when he walked onto the stage, at which point the applause trickled off to silence. "I knew I'd have to get it over with sooner or later," Pride later remembered. "I told the audience: 'Friends, I realize it's a little unique, me coming out here — with a permanent suntan — to sing country and western to you. But that's the way it is.' "