Who is Charlie Pride? Charley Pride (Charley Frank Pride) is an 86-year-old American singer, musician, guitarist, businessman, and former professional baseball player. His greatest musical success came in the early to mid-1970s, when he became the best-selling performer on RCA Records since Elvis Presley. Pride is one of the few African-Americans (along with DeFord Bailey and Darius Rucker) to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. During the peak years of his record career (1966–1987), he achieved 52 hits in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 30 of which reached number one.
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Pride was born on March 18, 1934, in Sledge, Mississippi, one of 11 children of poor sharecropers. His father intended to name him Charl Frank Pride, but due to an administrative error on his birth certificate, his legal name is Charley Frank. In the family there were eight boys and three girls. His older brother, Mack Pride Jr., played black league baseball before playing an active role in the ministry. Pride married Rozene Cohran in 1956.
Pride met his wife Rozene while playing baseball in Memphis. They married in 1956 while Pride was on the Army’s basic training Christmas license and have two sons, Kraig and Dion, and a daughter, Angela. They currently reside in Dallas, Texas. Kraig is now known as Carlton and has somehow followed in his father’s footsteps as a stage artist. His band, Carlton Pride and Zion, started in San Marcos, Texas, in 1995 and played a variety of reggae, funk and soul throughout the United States.
Dion Pride played guitar for his father and entertained troops on USO tours in Panama, Honduras, Guantanamo Bay and Antigua Island. Dion Pride co-wrote a song on Charley Pride’s 2010 Album Choices titled “I Miss My Home”.
In 1994, Pride co-wrote (with Jim Henderson) his autobiography, Pride: The Charley Pride Story. In this book, he reveals that he has struggled for years with manic depression.
Pride had a right vocal cord tumor removed in 1997 at the University of Arkansas medical sciences. He returned to the site in February 2009 for a routine checkup and surprised the Arkansas Senate with an unplanned performance of five songs. He was joined by Governor Mike Beebe during the show.
Pride is an avid Texas Rangers fan and co-owner. He sang the national anthem before the fifth game of the 2010 World Series, played between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants. He sang the national anthem before the second game of the 2011 American League Championship Series between the Detroit Tigers and rangers. He also sang the national anthem and “America the Beautiful” before Super Bowl VIII.
On January 20, 2014, he sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” and performed at halftime for the Memphis Grizzlies, who hosted his 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He was also interviewed during a break in the game that was televised nationally on NBA TV and SportSouth.