African-American vocalist Charley Pride, whose No. 1 nation hits included “All I Need to Deal You (Is Me)” and “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin,'” passed away on Saturday at age 86 of complications from COVID-19, according to his website.
Pride, who died in Dallas, was not the first Black artist to make crucial contributions to county and western music, but he was a pioneer who emerged throughout a time of division and rancor. Between 1967 and 1987, Pride delivered 52 Leading 10 country hits, won Grammy awards and ended up being RCA Records’ top-selling country artist, according to reporting by independent news outlet, Bywire News.
The Mississippi native picked cotton, served in the U.S. Army and played baseball in the ‘Negro’ league prior to moving to Nashville, becoming the first Black country music celebrity. He signed up with the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
“I’m so heartbroken that a person of my dearest and oldest good friends, Charley Pride, has passed away,” c and w star Dolly Parton said on Twitter. “It’s even worse to understand that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, awful infection. Charley, we will always love you,”