A legendary Country music singer is coming to Cranbrook in a couple of weeks, looking to make a whole bunch more new friends to the countless he’s already made in Canada over the years.
Charley Pride has performed internationally on a regular basis for more than 45 years, and Canada has also been a regular stop on his itinerary. He takes to the stage at Western Financial Place on Thursday, May 22.
“I’ve played all ten provinces,” Pride said in a recent telephone interview with the Daily Townsman. I’ve been coming up to Canada for years — since 1968. First time I was up there was with Bill Anderson and Faron Young (American country music singers and songwriters). Been coming up ever since. I’ve got a lot of friends and fans up there, and I’m glad of it.”
Pride is based out of Dallas, Texas, and said he’s looking forward to this latest venture north of the border, as spring comes to Canada.
“This is usually the time I come up there,” he said. “I remember just outside of Winnipeg there’s a place called Flin Flon. It was about the time we’re coming up there now. We got there, it was kinda fine, wasn’t too bad. Next morning we got up, the whole car, the windowsills, covered in snow. And we played the show, and I don’t know where the people came from, but they came. I’ve never forgotten that.”
Pride is now in his 70s, and still audiences worldwide with his timeless voice, renowned stage show and a repertoire that includes more than 50 Top 10 Country hits.
“I love what I do, and it filters all the way out to the audience. I’m in the business of lyrics, feelings and emotions. I try to do the best job I can of that. When we’re through, we like for our fans to leave feeling they’ve heard everything I’ve every recorded. Don’t ask how we do it, but we do it.”
Pride was born in 1938, the son of sharecroppers and one of 11 children. His first career was baseball. He pitched for several minor league teams — in the so-called Negro Leagues — in the minor leagues. He decided to pursue a career in music as the chances of making the major leagues grew smaller, and was encouraged to do so by Country star Red Sovine. In 1965 he signed with RCA — Elvis Presley’s label — and his rise to fame began.
Between 1969, when he first hit Number 1 on the singles chart with “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)” and 1984, when he did it again with “Every Heart Should Have One”, Price scored more than 36 number one country singles.
His legacy includes 36 No. 1 hit singles, over 70 million albums sold, 31 gold and 4 platinum albums. On RCA Records, Charley Pride is second in sales only to Elvis Presley.
Dozens of Pride’s songs stand as modern Country classics. “Kiss An Angel Good Morning” went on to be a million-selling crossover single and helped Pride land Country Music Association Awards as Entertainer of the Year in 1971 and Top Male Vocalist in 1971 and 1972.
Other memorable Pride standards include “Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone?”, “I’m so Afraid of Losing You Again”, “Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town”, “Someone Loves You Honey”, “When I Stop Leaving I’ll Be Gone”, “Burgers and Fries”, and “You’re So Good When You’re Bad.”
Pride is still active in professional baseball — as a part owner of the Texas Rangers of the American League. Pride was asked a little about baseball and the Rangers, but was feeling a little blue about it, the Rangers having lost to the Oakland A’s the night before. The Rangers are part of the tough West Division of the American League, but Pride said if they could keep their pitchers healthy and have a little bit of luck, they should compete quite well.