Charley Pride, country music"s very first African-American superstar, died Dec. 12 in Dallas of complications from COVID-19. He was 86.

You are watching: How old is charlie pride today


Charley Pride, country music’s an initial Black superstar, has died.

The barrier-breaking Pride, who scored 29 No. 1s on‘s Hot nation Songs chart, passed far Saturday (Dec. 12) in Dallas of complications from COVID-19, follow to a push release. He was 86.

Though other Black artists had actually experienced success in nation music, and also had left indelible foundational point out on the music and also culture, the Sledge, Mississippi-born Pride was the first Black artist to attain superstardom through such standards as “Is everyone Goin’ to san Antone” (1970), “Kiss one Angel an excellent Mornin’” (1971) and also “All I have to Offer girlfriend (Is Me)” (1969).



“No person of shade had ever before done what he has actually done,” Darius Rucker stated in the PBS American Masters movie Charley Pride: I’m simply Me.

The kid of a sharecropper, Pride pertained to country music after playing in the black American League. His love because that baseball never abated: because that the last 10 years, he was component of the Texas Rangers’ property group.

In November, Pride received the 2020 Willie Nelson Lifetime achievement Award at the 54th yearly CMA Awards. That was named CMA entertainer of the year in 1971 and was the very first Black guy to co-host the CMA Awards in 1975, through Glen Campbell. The three-time Grammy winner to be inducted right into the grand Ole Opry in 1993 and the country Music room of fame in 2000.

“To say country Music has actually lost a trailblazer is an obvious understatement, but in truth one that the biggest losses is Charley’s definitive country voice,” says country Music combination CEO buy it Trahern. “I remember working with Charley in 2009 ~ above ‘Country Music: In performance at the White House’ once President and also Michelle Obama invite several country artists come perform. He to be a trailblazer in so numerous ways. It was a one-of-a-kind night and also Charley to be telling impressive stories. Ours deepest condolences go out to his mam Rozene and the rest of his family and also friends in ~ this sad time.”


“Music is about breaking barriers. As among the an initial Black superstars in nation music, Charley pride did just that. A three-time Grammy winner and also 13-time nominee, the record Academy feeling this loss deeply,” claimed the Academy’s interim president/CEO Harvey Mason in a statement. “During his virtually five-decade long career, Pride influenced artists and also paved the way for so plenty of in the industry, i m sorry is why the Academy honored him through our Lifetime achievement Award in 2017. He’ll be sorely missed, yet we room grateful because that the remarkable tradition he pipeline behind.”

Ten that Pride’s nominations come in country categories, including his 1972 success in the best country vocal performance, male, group forCharley proud Sings heart Songs. The album logged 16 continually weeks in ~ No. 1 ~ above’s Top country Albums chart in 1972 and also contained “Kiss an Angel good Mornin’,” i beg your pardon spent 5 weeks at No. 1 on Hot nation Songs.

Pride appeared as a guest on 2 albums released earlier this year: In a historical move featuring 3 generations of black male country artists, he and also Rucker joined Jimmie Allen on “Why things Happen,” a emotional track ~ above Allen’s EP, Bettie James,released this summer.Pride additionally dueted with Garth Brooks on Brooks’ new fall album, Fun, top top “Where the cross Don’t Burn,” a tale of a young white boy’s friendship v an older black man.

“We acquired a possibility to stand for Black country artists because that younger Black children who desire to carry out country yet don’t feeling anyone the end there looks prefer them,” Allen told earlier this year of recording “Why points Happen.” “No issue your race, it’s crucial to check out someone that looks prefer you law what girlfriend love. It makes it more realistic. It provides it seem achievable.”

With still only a grasp of black color or bi-racial artist heard on country radio now more than fifty percent a century ~ Pride’s breakthrough, it’s almost impossible come imagine how tough his route was to forge. RCA, the brand that signed Pride, sent his early singles come radio without press photos, so disc jockeys would not recognize he to be Black.“It to be RCA’s decision not to play increase or down the shade thing, however to just let the voice go, put the document out and let the human being decide,” proud told The Washington Post.

See more: How To Connect Hisense Tv To Google Home And Amazon Alexa On Select Hisense Tvs

“Charley Pride was a trailblazer whose amazing voice & generosity spirit damaged down barriers in country music simply as his hero Jackie Robinson had in baseball,” stated filmmaker Ken Burns, that featured proud in his Country Music docu-series that chronicled the history of nation music in America. “His last performance was his hit, ‘Kiss an Angel an excellent Mornin’.’ currently he is one.”

In lieu that flowers, Pride’s household asks for donations to The proud Scholarship in ~ Jesuit college Preparatory School, St. Philips School and also Community Center and The Food Bank.