Country Music’s First Black Superstar, Charley Pride, Dies At 86

(Original Caption) 11/11/1975-New York, New York- Charley Pride, the first black man to make it to the top of the country and western music field, sets another first here, November 8th. In all his concert years, Pride sang to a record sold out house in Madison Square's Felt Forum.

Country Music’s First Black Superstar, Charley Pride, Dies At 86

His representatives say he died from COVID-19 related causes.

Published December 12th

Written by BET Staff

Country music legend Charley Pride has died. According to a statement from his publicist provided to, Pride passed away in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, December 12, due to COVID-19 related complications. Pride was 86. 

Known as the first Black man to integrate the nearly all, Southern white genre of country music, Pride's hits include “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'” and “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone.” His music will forever be a part of his historic legacy. 

RELATED: Charley Pride Takes His Place in History

Just last month, Pride was celebrated for his decades of contributions to country music at the CMAs where he performed for the last time publicly and received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement award. 

Born in Sledge, Mississippi, Pride was the son of a sharecropper who made it out by joining the Army before eventually trying his hand at music in 1963. His first hit, “Just Between You and Me” made it to the top of the country charts in 1967. Between that time and 1987, Pride is said to have performed on 52 Top 10 hits, according to 

RELATED: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to Play Charlie Pride in Biopic

He is survived by his wife, three children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Rest in power to a true legend. 

Bettmann Collection/Getty Images


Latest in music