R.I.P., Charley Pride: Icon’s Death Leaves Fellow Country Artists ‘Gutted’
Charley Pride's death on Saturday (Dec. 12) at the age of 86 of COVID-19 complications has left the country music community "devastated" and "gutted." His fellow artists turned to social media quickly after the news of Pride's death was announced to honor one of the genre's icons and groundbreakers.
On Twitter, Reba McEntire remembered Pride's "great music, wonderful personality and his big heart." Brad Paisley, meanwhile, recalled an incredible moment between his teenage self, his father and Pride, whom he calls "the most generous, kind, trailblazing man."
"I met Charley Pride when I was 15. He gave his home phone number to my dad, and said, 'I’d love to help your son,'" Paisley recounts. "And help he did. I am so blessed to have had so many memories with him ..."
"You changed country music for the better, Charley," Paisley added. "And you changed this kid’s life."
See more artists' reactions to Pride's death below:
Born in Sledge, Miss., on March 18, 1934, Pride grew up poor as the son of a sharecropper on a cotton farm and became country music’s first Black superstar, as well as the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, after a career in baseball and time in the military.
After signing with RCA Records in 1966, Pride scored his first Top 10 hit, "Just Between You and Me," that same year. He continued that success with a long string of 52 Top 10 country hits, including the No. 1 songs "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone," "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'," "I'd Rather Love You," "I'll Be Leaving Alone" and more.
Pride was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He was also a Grand Ole Opry member -- the first Black singer to be invited to join the prestigious institution -- and 2020's CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award winner.