Paisley shared their first encounter in a moving tribute to the country music legend. Pride passed away earlier today (Dec. 12) from complications related to COVID-19. He was 86-years-old. His death has sent ripples through the industry with fellow country singers mourning his passing.
On Instagram, Paisley shared a photo of the two musicians performing at the 2016 CMA Awards together. For the performance, the duo performed one of Pride’s classics “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.”
But Paisley actually first met Pride when he was only 15.
On Instagram, he wrote, “The most generous, kind, trailblazing man has left us. I met Charley Pride when I was 15. He gave his home phone number to my dad, and said “I’d love to help your son.” And help he did. I am so blessed to have had so many memories with him. I’m devastated. You changed country music for the better, Charley. And you changed this kid’s life. We love you.”
Charley Pride Was a Legend in the Industry
For young black musicians across the globe, Pride was an inspiration. He became the first African-American singer to make it big in the country genre. No small feat considering his career took off during the Civil Rights Movement and times of segregation.
But Pride’s music was enjoyed by listeners everywhere. Over the course of his career, he had 29 No. 1 hits, 67 singles, and won numerous awards. But perhaps his greatest contribution was the people he helped along the way. For every single and hit, Pride also helped the up and coming musicians of the industry like Paisley.
His music inspired a generation to reach for their dreams. And if Paisley and the others follow in Pride’s example, then perhaps his spirit will live on.