In the Late 1960’s Country Music Listeners Loved This New Guy Charley Pride and Then Came a Shock
Charley Pride needs no introduction. With over fifty Top Ten country hits, including more than twenty Number One's, Charley is not only a country music legend, he's a country music institution. When it comes to the biggest names in the history of our music, Charley's is right there near the top. We all know Charley Pride.
But it wasn't always that way.
In fact, when listener's first heard the great country voice of Charley Pride, they had no idea who this guy was, or more importantly back there in the 'old days', what he looked like. And this was intentional from the folks at Charley's record label, RCA. There were no pictures, no biographical information, no...nothing.
Here's what RCA Records did:
On the records of songs submitted to radio stations for airplay, the singer was listed as "Country Charley Pride". At this time, country music was a white medium and they made sure that there were no pictures of Pride distributed for the first two years of his career, in order to avoid the effects of Jim Crowism.
Stories abound of people loving the music of this new artist, this Charley Pride, and they would flock by the thousands to see him in concert. Well, when Charley walked out on stage and into the spotlight, they were shocked. Some couldn't and wouldn't accept him. But millions of others embraced the sound of the man that would help define country music in the 1970's and 1980's.
Many artist's in country music came up the 'hard way', playing dives and honky-tonks, dumps and places that your momma told you to stay away from. Many talk of playing in places that were just plain dangerous. It was all part of 'paying their dues' on that stairway to stardom.
Well, the great Country Music Hall of Famer Charley Pride had to do all that, too.
And then, he had one more obstacle of the era to overcome. Thank God he did.
Wikipedia contributed to this story.