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Charley Pride Recovering From Brain Surgery

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We have had some very enlightening discussions of race and pride recently, but where does this fellow fit into the picture? Country singer Charley Pride is expected to make a full recovery following brain surgery last week, his personal manager said Monday.

Pride, 66, was hospitalized Wednesday for a subdural hematoma, a blood clot that occurs when blood from a torn vessel collects between the brain and the skull.

He had sought treatment after experiencing severe headaches, his manager, John Daines, said. The surgery was performed Saturday at an undisclosed hospital.

Daines said Pride was alert and awake when he visited him Monday morning. He’s expected to make a complete recovery and could be released from the hospital Tuesday, Daines said. [AP] Best wishes on a speedy recovery, Charley.

You don’t often hear Charley mentioned among the African-American greats, but these accomplishments are pretty hard to ignore:

    Born to poor sharecroppers, one of eleven children in Sledge, Mississippi, Pride is a timeless everyman, revered by his musical peers and adored by countless millions of fans around the globe. His golden baritone voice has transcended race and spanned the generations.

    Charley Pride unofficially started his music career in the late 1950s as a ballplayer with the Negro American League’s Memphis Red Sox singing and playing guitar on the team bus between ballparks. Self-taught on a guitar bought at the age 14 from Sears Roebuck, Pride would join various bands’ onstage as he and the team roved the country.

    After a tryout with the New York Mets, Pride decided to return to his Montana home via Nashville. It was there he met Jack Johnson, who upon hearing the singer perform, sent him on his way with the promise of a management contract and a newly forged relationship that would last for over a decade.

    A year later, Pride returned to the Music City and was introduced to producer, Jack Clement, who gave him several songs to learn. When Clement heard Pride’s renditions, he immediately asked the fledgling singer if he could cut two songs in two hours. Pride agreed, and “The Snakes Crawl at Night” and “Atlantic Coastal Line” were recorded.

    Three months later, Pride’s two song demo landed in the hands of already legendary RCA Records head, Chet Atkins, who was so moved he immediately signed him to the label. Pride’s first single hit the airwaves in January 1966 and just like that his star was on the rise. Within a short period of time “The Snakes Crawl at Night” was climbing the charts with his “Before I Met You” closing in on its tail.

    ….Over the past thirty years, Pride has remained one of the Top 20 best-selling country artists of all-time. His incredible legacy includes 36 #1 hit singles, over 70 million albums sold, 31 gold and 4 platinum albums – including one quadruple platinum. On RCA Records, Charley Pride is second in sales only to Elvis Presley.

    Dozens of Pride’s chart toppers now stand as modern classics. “Kiss An Angel Good Morning” went on to be a million-selling crossover single and helped Pride land Country Music Association Awards as Entertainer of the Year in 1971 and Top Male Vocalist in 1971 and 1972.

    Other memorable Pride standards include “Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone?” “I’m So Afraid of Losing You Again,” “Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town,” “Someone Loves You Honey,” “When I Stop Leaving I’ll be gone,” “Burgers and Fries,” and “You’re So Good When You’re Bad,” to name but a few. His moving performances of Hank Williams classics “Kaw-Liga” and “Honky Tonk Blues” on his number 1 album, “There’s a Little Bit of Hank in Me,” was also certified Gold.

    In 1994, Charley released his autobiography, Pride: The Charley Pride Story (published by William Morrow). Aside from detailing great moments of his amazing career and journeyman stint as a ballplayer, Pride: is an often moving, sometimes hilarious tale of his almost improbable dream come true and journey to the top of the charts.

Formidable and worthy of the highest respect, no? Isn’t he the Jackie Robinson of country music? If not, why?

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About Eric Olsen

  • Judith Dobies

    GOOD LUCK! GOD BLESS
    I TOO HAD BRAIN SURGERY FOR A BLOOD CLOT AND COLLOID CYST OF THE THRID VENTRICLES DEEP IN THE BRAIN.
    GOOD BLESS
    JUDY

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Judy, hope all is well with you. I am certain Charley apreciates the kind thoughts.

  • MCH

    As an aside, if it’s OK to bore the readers for a couple minutes, I’d like to share my limited experiences with Charley Pride.

    My dad has owned and operated a junkyard in central Montana since the early 1950s (yes, he still works six days a week at the age of 74), and one of his customers in the early ’60s was Charley Pride. Charley worked at the smelting plant nearby and played baseball for the local semi-pro team, and would stop by my dad’s shop once in awhile looking for parts for his shiney red Ford convertable.

    As a young kid working for my dad in the summers, I recall a couple of brief episodes involving Charley out in the garage. Once he asked my dad how tall he was and when dad told him he was 6-feet-2, Charley responded, “That’s what I am, 6-2,” to which my dad replied, “Oh, I must be 6-2 1/2 then.”

    Another time an old cowboy with his leg in a cast was sitting by the garage door and after Charley walked by made a derogatory racial comment. Charley spun around and warned, “Better watch out or I’ll break your other f—ing leg!” I remember receiving a verbal discipline from my dad for swearing (I was about 11) when I repeated the story later in front of a few of his customers.

    Anyway, about 30 years later I played pool with an old-timer who was a teammate of Charley’s on the baseball team from the ’60s. My buddy told me that whenever Charley got a chance – either right after a game (by homeplate) or in the bars later – he’d break out his guitar and start singing, collecting donations in his guitar case. My buddy said he’d always rib Charley, “Hey, quiet down before you get the dogs howling.”

    By the way, Charley Pride could play a little baseball, too. In about 1963 he led the Montana Copper League in hitting with a .440 average.

    Thanx for indulging my ramblings.

  • Eric Olsen

    great stories, thanks MCH

  • Robert Harris

    I have just attended my first Charley Pride concert in Springfield, Ohio (October 8, 2005) and it was WONDERFUL! This amazing man is simply unbelieveable – an artist, showman, entertainer, actor, and a down-right decent person. Although his voice seems to be aging (and whose would not at age 70+) he still has the carisma and charm of someone in their thirties. May he continue for thirty more years.
    Robert Harris, Yellow Springs, Ohio

  • MCH

    I too got to attend my first Charley Pride concert recently, after meeting and interviewing the great Country singing trailblazer. I hadn’t seen him in over 40 years, and of course he didn’t remember me – I was just a skinny 10-year old kid in oversized coveralls at the time.

    Right on, Robert, I agree with all your assesments of Charley except for the part about “his voice seems to be aging.” I feel that his voice is actually as good as ever, if not better. BTW, he’s only 67.

  • Therese Phillips

    Hello Charlie Pride

    I never believed I would one day be able to contact you.

    I am writing from the country of Belize in Central America – you are my favourite singer.
    I always tell my friends that one of my wishes is that I would one day hear that you’d be visiting Belize to do a concert but it does not seem that that will happen.

    Your voice and your music both take me away. Whether I am happy or sad I can listen your music and feel relaxed.

    With best wishes

    Therese

  • teresa

    I HAD A BRAIN TUMOR AND WAS OPERATED ON 5 YEARS AGO RECOVERY WAS SLOW BUT THANKS TO GOD IM FINE NOW. GOD BLESS YOU CHARLEY. I WILL PRAY FOR YOU.
    ALL THE WAY FROM SOUTH AFRICA (LIVING IN FLORIDA NOW)

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Ok, someone fill me in. I heard a story this weekend that Charley Pride was Hank Williams’ illegitimate son. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

    Dave

  • Eric Olsen

    Dave, my thoughts on it are that it isn’t true.

    Very glad to hear all the great reports on Charley, it sounds like he is doing well. I perhaps have most respect of all for people who just do their own thing and do it to the best of their abilities regardless of extenuating social circumstances.

  • J Braun

    Dave,
    I’ve heard the same thing as I was growning up that Charley Pride is Hank Williams’ illegitamate son. Im not sure weather thats true or not.

  • Eric Olsen

    again, no

  • http://www.ebonytaymusic.com ebony tay

    I grew up in a country singing family,there were no faces of colour. Yet my father introduced me to Charley Pride and used to say , that name represents that man and a voice to go with it.
    Nothing is impossible when you think of this man’s life and his music..I truly have Pride in my heart and in my speakers when I hear Charley.
    Thanks for breaking the barrier..music reaches all

  • MCH

    No, Charley Pride is not Hank Williams’ illegitamate son, strictly gossip. Charley’s dad was a sharecropper in Sledge, Miss., who actually intended to name him “Charl Frank Pride,” but the birth certificate read “Charley.”

  • http://OwenSOund Joan Misch

    I enjoyed the OwenSound show on May 20th.It was good to see Dion and Charlie.I was disappointed that Dion would not sign a autograh .But he seemed to be more tired then Charlie after his show.Charlie is really great and put on a terrific show ,especially for a man of 68.This was the 2nd time I had been to a concert of Charlies and he has only changed the way he does not do hand shakes all during his show now.It is good that he does not as it must be very hard to do, energy wise,and do a show the length of which he does. He enjoys the interaction with the crowd and this is what makes him so well loved and respected. Dion ,I’m sure has his reasons why he is not as interactive and more impersonal then his Father is.This is a different time and most of the newer entertainers keep it impersonal.But there are a few like Charlie and Neal McCoy that have that chrisma and go that extra mile and I wanted Charlie to know how much it is appreciated. God Bless you Charlie!
    God willing ,I will be seeing you at Havelock Jamboree. JOAN

  • http://ZAMBIA,AFRICA KIMBERLY BAINES

    i have loved charley pride since i was 5 years old and am 36 now. GOD BLESS YOU CHARLEY.And if there is anyting i would wish for in this life, is to meet charley pride.

  • jeffery

    it is possible charlie prides monther was hank williams maid

  • dorothy

    i have gone to every concert that Charley has done in the Halifax Nova Scotia area. I have saw others in concert but none can compair to Charley and I already have my ticket for his next show in Halifax June 2007/ He is such a wonderful singer and i just love him. My dream would be to meet him in person

  • XAgent

    No offense, but how do you really know that Charlie Pride ISN’T Hank Williams’ illegitimate son? It’s very possible that there could have been cover up in order to avoid the press.

  • Connie Rettele

    I am going to be on the Grand Ole Opry Cruise on January 26th. Anxiously waiting to meet you. I’ve been listening to you sing (and loving every minute of it) since 1967.
    See you then,
    Connie Rettele
    Glendora, CA

  • chris in england

    just love charlie pride as a man and his music. a i was lucky enough to meet charlie ,way back when he came to cornwall colliseium ,it was a fantastic show and a real pleasure to talk to this loverly man . keep singing charlie. god bless you .

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What’s this article doing in Politics?

  • Elizabeth

    I have Charleys record since I was a teannager in Scotland.Can this man sing !!! Crystl Chandeliers is still my favorite my Grand kids now sing it also/ Good Luck Charley you are one of a kind E. h

  • jeanie

    Doesn’t matter who Charley’s father is or isn’t. Charley was great then and still is now

  • barbara riley

    hi charlie i hope you are feeling much better by now .i am abig fan of yours in australia i have seen all your shows but one that you did in australia i love you and yor musice gets played everyday in my house and car.please come back to aussie land againsoon i miss you .take care love barbxxxx

  • Denny

    I’ve met Charley(and hugged him)and he’s a GREAT and FUNNY guy.I recommend reading his book.Does nANYONE knoe when his movie is commin out?????????????

  • Don Barrow

    I met Charlie in 1968 in BambergGermany. He was on tour going to all the American bases there and performing in the nco clubs for the service men. He was one of the nicest men I have ever met. He was standing at the end of the bar between shows and I went up and introduced myself. Two or three months he appeared again in Bamberg and I took one of his albums with me and he autographed the cover for me.. I still have it and the record.

  • Becky Altman

    I saw you years ago in Nashville, In. and have loved your music ever since. We lived in Zimbabwe, Africa, for 10 years, and anytime I had to drive at night I’d put your music on. It made me feel safe. Today I play your CD in the car and love it just as much as I did then. I get the feeling you are a good man as well as a good singer. God bless you!

  • Jack

    first time i heard a charley pride record was right after highschool while going though some of my older brother’s records he had stored up, today, almost 10 years later i have pherhaps the largest collection of charley’s music in the whole world, wount stop untill i have all his songs, talk about a great hobby, talk a bout a great and trurly talented man,

  • Jim

    I have often wonderd why BET awards have continually ignored honoring charley pride in one of their awards ceremonies, really, here is a black man who in 1966 dared to sing country music at the height of the civil rights movement,wow, do you know how much heart that took,Charley, as far as am conncered could have become a blues singer if he wanted to or even a jazz singer, but he followed his heart- and i thank God he was honored with the presidential medal of arts coz he really deserves it-but how it hurts me that many African Americans today dont really know chalrey pride that well

  • Peggy Sue Richardson

    Hope you you get better real fast. I grew up listing to you, I love your plan truth aubum. You and your wife are blessed by God to be togeather all these years you don’t see that offten in show bissness Love Peggy

  • Danny Ferguson

    Had the pleasure of seeing you with my wife in my native Glasgow many years ago. Never forget the experience.
    Drove the car with my wife a long distace recently without too much being said, until I played one of the many your cd’s, we both sung together all the way home. Thanks a million.

  • Larry Reedy

    How can I have a conversation with Charley?

  • Karen Nowak

    I am 37 and grew up listening to Charley Pride and lots of “old country.” My dream to see Charley in concert came true when he was at the State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas. I now have three kids – 6, 4, and 1. The two oldest know when a Charley Pride song comes on the radio. I would love for them to see him in concert also. It would be wonderful if he could perform at the Stiefle Theater in Salina, Kansas. It is only an hour from where I live. Recently I have seen Don Williams, Merle Haggard, Ronnie Milsap, and plan to see George Jones there in April.

  • Elkanah Montgomery Sr.

    I wish you nothing short of a full recovery. ALL faith MUST be placed in the hands of GOD Almighty, ONLY. Love you Sir. Elkanah Montgomery Sr.

  • nancygerdt

    Charley I have 25 of your records, one time when we went on vacation I took my C.P. records to my sister in lawsfor safekeeping while we were gone. My favorite song is Crystal Chandliers. Hope you have a speedy recovery

  • Eric ambrose

    Hi charley get well soon hope you tour the U.K again seen you twice just brilliant all the best Eric.

  • Ken

    No where in Charlie Pride’s bio does mention his son Tyler who was raised by his mother in Tyler Texas. He now is a police officer in Tenn

  • Marina curry

    hope you are feeling better, come back to Florida soon, love you