Song:Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'
Album:The Essential Charley Pride
Today Charley Pride is hailed as a pioneer for blacks in country music. But back in the 60s, RCA Records was so skittish about Pride being accepted by country music fans, they issued no publicity photos of him when they released his early records. Kiss An Angel Good Mornin' is Pride's signature song and the only one of his hits to cross over to pop. He was born Mar. 18, 1938 in Sledge, MS one of eleven children of sharecroppers. Pride played guitar but his dream was to play professional baseball. He pitched for the Memphis Red Sox of the Negro American League in 1952. He signed with the New York Yankees Class C farm team the Boise Yankees in 1953. An arm injury derailed Pride's baseball career. After two years in the US Army and failed tryouts with the Los Angeles Angels and the New York Mets, Pride turned to music. Red Sovine brought Pride to Nashville and Chet Atkins signed him to RCA in 1966. Pride's manager Jack D. Johnson was concerned that Pride wouldn't be accepted by country music fans because he's black. So no publicity photos were released with Pride's early singles. When his third single Just Between You And Me was a top ten country hit, they decided it was safe to take the covers off of Pride. In 1967, he was the first black to perform on the Grand Ole Opry since the 40s. Then Pride had a string of number one country hits and was one the biggest country music stars of the 70s. Kiss An Angel Good Mornin' was the biggest of those hits as it crossed over to pop and reached #22 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Ben Peters. Peters wrote several Pride hits and also wrote the 1975 Freddy Fender hit Before The Next Teardrop Falls. When Pride's career slowed down in the 80s, he left RCA in 1986. You can get all his RCA hits on this budget comp. Since then Pride has recorded for small labels. His latest CD was released in 2011. His autobiography was published in 1994. Pride still tours. He has had to slow down a bit after he had vocal cord issues in 1997. He's still a big baseball fan and is a minority owner of the Texas Rangers. Pride and his wife Rozene live in Dallas. There have been plans to do a Charley Pride biopic for some time, first starring Terence Howard, then Dwayne Johnson announced plans to star and produce a Pride biopic in 2011. There has been no progress since then. Here's Charley Pride performing Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'.