The first, and so far only, black country music superstar
. Born March 18, 1938 as the son of a sharecropper
, Charley Pride grew up listening to the classic masters of country music such as Ernest Tubb and Hank Williams
Charley Pride was an avid fan and player of baseball, playing as a professional in the Negro American League. Charley played with lots of pick-up bands along the way, and was later encouraged to try singing in Nashville. A demo record impressed RCA's Chet Atkins.
Charley has always had a warm baritone voice which appealed to country music fans. During an era when many country music stars felt they must "go Pop" to satisfy listeners, Charley insisted on playing pure, real, country music.
Charley's first single "Snakes Crawl at Night" broke him on to the scene, and was followed with two other singles before his first album, "Country Charlie Pride", was released. Many of his listeners were surprised to find the man with the golden voice, was indeed an African American.
To this day, Charley Pride ranks second in sales at RCA Records, behind only the great Elvis Presley.