“It’s a sad day…” Brooks said. “We lost Charley Pride, probably the greatest story in country music that I can think of as far as accomplishment against the odds. And talk about a sweet, sweet dude. Love him to pieces.”
Though Brooks said he would miss his friend, he took solace in knowing Pride would live on through his music.
“The great thing about guys like that, they live forever,” he said. “Charley Pride stands shoulder to should with guys like (Merle) Haggard, (George) Jones, Hank (Williams).”
The CMA Awards recently honored Pride with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. Considered country music’s first black superstar, Pride racked up more than 50 Top 10 country music singles and an astonishing 29 No. 1 hits. Those included Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’, Where Do I Put Her Memory, (I’m So) Afraid of Losing You Again and I’m Just Me.
CMT will also air CMT Remembers Charley Pride on Wednesday. The career retrospective will include interviews from some of country music’s biggest stars discussing Pride’s legacy.
Garth Brooks Discusses His Duet with Pride on ‘Fun’
Brooks said recently that he accomplished one of his career dreams when he performed with Charley Pride on Where the Cross Don’t Burn. The song, featured on Brooks’ new album Fun, discusses race relations in the deep South. It’s a song Brooks had intended to record for nearly a decade but kept putting off. Though that changed when he saw an online hoax that falsely claimed Pride had died.
That spurred Brooks to reach out to the country music legend and record the song before it was too late. Brooks said Pride was “hard-headed” during the recording process because he was a perfectionist. But in the end, Brooks appreciated the final product.
“Being stubborn sometimes gets you in trouble, a lot of time it pays off for you,” Brooks said in an earlier episode of Inside Studio G. “That’s what this guy does. What he’s done his whole career. From the neck up, he’s going to get it done. No matter how many obstacles are in front of him. He’s going to get it done.”
Moreover, it’s a characteristic that helped Pride throughout his career, Brooks added.
“Charley Pride probably did get the biggest accomplishment in country music done,” Brooks said. “[Pride] was a guy who … wasn’t traditional country music (but) the characteristics of country music are its traditions. He did his own thing, flew his own flag, all while flying the flag of country music.
“This guy worships and adores country music,” Brooks said. “And country music worships and adores him.”