Charley Pride

Charley Pride

Courtesy photo

DEADWOOD | Multi-platinum and multi-Grammy winner Charley Pride will return to play the Deadwood Mountain Grand Event Center on March 31.

Born to poor sharecroppers, one of 11 children in Sledge, Miss., Pride is a timeless every man, revered by his musical peers and adored by fans around the globe. His golden baritone voice has transcended race and spanned the generations.

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. Even though Pride had strong producers working with him, they still struggled to get his songs heard.

But finally in 1966, Chet Atkins decided to trust his ears and signed Pride to RCA Records. Atkins took Pride under his wing, nurtured his talent and oversaw a shrewd promotional campaign that successfully navigated the racial challenges of mid-1960s America. Although Pride's first couple of singles failed to jump-start his career, 'Just Between You and Me' caught fire in 1967, breaking into the Top-10 Country chart and garnering Pride his first Grammy nomination.

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What happened next is Country Music history. Pride quickly became Country Music's first African-American superstar. Between 1967 and 1987, he amassed 52 Top-10 Country hits and went on to sell tens of millions of records worldwide.

In 1971, Pride won two Grammy Awards related to his Gospel album “Did You Think To Pray”. Later that year, his number one crossover hit 'Kiss An Angel Good Mornin' sold over one million singles and helped him to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year award and the "Top Male Vocalist" awards of 1971 and 1972. It also brought him a 'Best Male Country Vocal Performance' Grammy Award in 1972.

Some of Prides's unforgettable hits from his 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s output include "All I Have To Offer You Is Me," "Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone," "Amazing Love," "Mississippi Cotton Pickin' Delta Town," "Burgers And Fries," "Roll On Mississippi" and "Mountain Of Love."

Tickets are $49, $69 and $79, and are on sale at the Deadwood Mountain Grand Box Office — The Company Store — or at ticketmaster.com

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