Gladys Knight Covers Charley Pride’s ‘Roll on Mississippi’ in Tribute Special

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)

On Wednesday evening, CMT aired a special celebrating the life and legacy left behind by the groundbreaking music star, Charley Pride.

During the star-studded special, many artists such as country superstars Garth Brooks and George Strait took the stage to honor the country legend who died last year of complications related to COVID-19 at the age of 86.

Charley Pride has been called “country music’s first Black superstar.” And his legacy is certainly that of a superstar.

The impact he has left on the world of music, and more specifically, the country music world was absolutely apparent during the Wednesday evening tribute.

While all of the performances honoring the singer were amazing, none can hold a candle to the moment music icon Gladys Knight took the stage to perform Pride’s 1981 hit “Roll On Mississippi.”

During the beautifully moving performance Gladys Knight belts out the Charley Pride hit in her usual soulful fashion; singing the classic song in a way that would make Mr. Pride proud. It was truly a memorable moment. A case of a music legend honoring a music legend.

The Wednesday evening special also included interviews from Pride’s friends and family including his wife Rozene, Reba McEntire, and Nolan Ryan.

Music Wasn’t Charley Pride’s Only Talent

Pride entered the music scene in the 1960s, amid racial tensions and divisions. Eventually, breaking into the business with multiple successful hits. However, the famous artist took a bit of a wild detour before he hit the music scene.

In addition to his awe-inspiring music career, Charley Pride also found some success on the baseball field. Pride was a pitcher for the Memphis Red Sox as well as the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro League.

Charley Pride was a team favorite on the mound, playing for five years from 1953 to 1958. Pride has said that he had a “pretty good little curve” in his pitch. However, it was not quite good enough to get Pride into the Major Leagues.

That was just fine for Charley Pride, though. As well as the music world. Shortly after his baseball career ended, Charley Pride moved on to begin his music career.

Charley Pride recorded over twenty-nine number one hits such as “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” during his long career.

Pride’s exemplary career became an inspiration to generations of would-be performers. His timeless music has also been covered many times over the decades.