Country music superstar Charley Pride died in Dallas on December 12, 2020, at the age of 86. He had been hospitalized with pneumonia and developed Covid-19 complications. A true legend, Pride broke country music’s color barrier, selling tens of millions of records to fans all over the world.
Pride is survived by his wife Rozene, their three children, and extended families. His family and close friends held a private memorial in Dallas this week and announced plans for a public celebration of life ceremony for him in the future.
CMT honors his life and achievements with “CMT Remembers Charley Pride,” airing Dec. 16, 17, and 19. The program honors the “extraordinary life and legacy of one of the most influential, decorated, and impactful country artists in the history of the genre.”
Pride’s perseverance and talent transcended generations and blazed a new path for black country artists. Pride received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the CMA Awards in Nashville Nov. 11, and also performed one of his biggest hits, “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’” on the show.
Tributes to Charley Pride
Here are just a few of many tributes and memories shared by Charley Pride’s fellow artists and friends following his death:
“When I heard that Charley Pride had passed I just went numb. It hurts beyond words when someone you love passes. When Charley opened his theatre, he asked the Oak Ridge Boys to help him. I got to know Charley as a friend. We recorded with him on one of his last recordings….We have lost another legend, folks. There is a big hole left in our industry. I have been singing “Kiss An Angel Good Morning” all day.” – Duane Allen, The Oak Ridge Boys
“Charley Pride was the Jackie Robinson of country music and his name was perfect. He was proud, brave and a hell of a singer. I worked with him once and he sang the heck out of the old Hank Williams song Kaw-liga. His voice was large and pure. He belongs in centerfield where the monuments are. He was a great one.” – Don McLean
More Tributes to a Trailblazer
“We have been friends for a long time. Charley and Rozene would come to our home for parties and get-togethers over the years. He was so down to earth and just a normal guy. He will be so missed.” – B.J. Thomas
“Charley Pride has been a cornerstone of country music and a wonderful part of my life for so long. I loved his music before I came to Nashville and I loved Charley as soon as I met him. I always looked forward to working with Charley and I will always miss his warm smile, kind words, and beautiful heart.” – Crystal Gayle
“Charley Pride was a dear friend and truly one of the sweetest men in the music business. I was privileged to be his opening act when I first came to town. He treated everyone with respect and kindness. I’m in shock and so sad because I lost a good friend, the music business lost an incredible artist and the world lost an amazing citizen.” – Lee Greenwood
“Trailblazer is an understatement when you say a name like Charley Pride. Charley Pride is an American hero! Because of his courage and talent, the door to country music is now open for all! We hope to make him proud and continue to carry the torch! Rest In Peace, Uncle Charley!” – Danica Hart, Chapel Hart