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Celebrities + Friends Remember Charley Pride

Country music legend, Charley Pride, died on Dec. 12 at the age of 86. Pride was a Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member as well as a pioneer in the country music world. When news broke of his death, tributes came pouring in for the “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” singer. Here’s how celebrities, musicians and friends are remembering him.

Before diving into these tributes, check out this article from Variety. Jeremy Helliger does a great job detailing how Pride was a trailblazer in country music — and beyond.

“My friend Charley Pride passed away today. He was a man I very much admired because he took the road less traveled by becoming not just a country singer but a driving force in county music. More than 50 of his songs have been in the top 10 AND his music has hit #1 30 times. I wanted Charley to be recognized by the Kennedy Center because as a black man his life was large and I thought after being a baseball player, a business owner, and the only black man most of us knew who sang country music, he should have gotten The Kennedy Center Honors. I will simply say he was a wonderful man & a great artist. My condolences to his family and the fact this is also another COVID-related death breaks my heart because it didn’t have to be this way. Rest In Peace Charley Pride, RIP. Many thanks to the CMAs for recognizing Charley Pride’s achievements this year.” – Whoopi Goldberg

“When I heard that Charley Pride had passed I just went numb. It hurts beyond words when someone you love passes. When Charley opened his theatre, he asked the Oak Ridge Boys to help him. I got to know Charley as a friend. We recorded with him on one of his last recordings. On the Country Music Cruise, I sat with Rozene and sang along with every big hit as Charley sang. I ask for prayers for Rozene and the family. We have lost another legend, folks. There is a big hole left in our industry. I have been singing “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’” all day.” – Duane Allen, The Oak Ridge Boys

“Charley Pride was a true gentleman. I remember talking with him backstage about how proud he was standing up for his rights. He likened it to Rosa Parks refusing to go to the back of the bus.” -Naomi Judd 

“There is a Neal McCoy because there was a Charley Pride. No other way to put it. Charley and Rozene have meant the world to Melinda and me and our kids. We are forever indebted to them for their hospitality, their generosity, and their caring and loving ways. Charley is gone now but never forgotten by our family and many other families around this world for the love he has extended through his music and the overall kindness he showed while on this earth. We will see him again, and we will continue to love Rozene and their entire family for years to come.” – Neal McCoy

“We have lost a dear long-time friend, hero, PIONEER and LEGEND. This year keeps getting worse and worse. This will be another loss that will take a long time to process. Rest Easy Charley Pride… we all love you and will miss you terribly.” – Joe Bonsall, The Oak Ridge Boys

“Charley has been a longtime friend and over the years I have always enjoyed laughing and exchanging jokes with him. We will miss you.”-Jeff Cook /  ALABAMA 

“Charley’s smile always lit up the room. His historic Hall of Fame career lit up an industry. Tonight I’m sure he’s still lightening them up… just a little higher up.”-Teddy Gentry / ALABAMA 

“He and Rozene are true friends of mine and Kelly’s. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rozene and his family. Heaven awaits my friend, Charley.”-Randy Owen / ALABAMA 

“He opened the door for so many, including me. He took down walls and barriers meant to divide. He became a bridge of music for music lovers who found they had way more in common than they had different. And rules and stereotypes meant to separate were taken down and opened up to the free will of the artist and fan to become one in harmony and song.” -Billy Ray Cyrus 

“It’s such a sad day saying so long to Charley Pride. I’m just so thankful that I got to sing a song with him. That’s where this picture was taken. It’s supposed to be on his next album. I also narrated his ‘I’ll Be Me’ documentary. I’m so thankful for that and my heart, my love, my soul… everything goes out to Rozene and the entire Pride family because we are the biggest fans of Charley. The world is lost today. He’s one of the greatest singers of all time. We love you Charley.” -Tanya Tucker

“Charley has made it possible for artists like me, Mickey, Darius, Jimmie, Kane… to be in country music. He showed us that a career in country music is possible, that we can be true to ourselves and create the music we love. He has paved a path that we’re able to walk down. He is a true legend and will never be forgotten.” – Reyna Roberts

“First time I met Charley Pride was in 1983 at the old RCA Records “Studio A.” He walked up to me and told me I was a Scorpio. He could do things like that. We became and remained friends since that day. He and Rozene were dear friends of ours. The music business has lost one of the all-time greats! Prayers and condolences to his family and everyone that loved him. RIP, my brother.” – T. Graham Brown

“I remember singing “Mountain of love” at the battle of the bands at the Texas State Fair at age 16. Mr. Charlie Pride was and will always be a trailblazer to all people and to all country music lovers. He was always first-class to me, always! Rest In Peace Mr. Pride.” –Tim Rushlow

“Charley Pride was a global icon in music, baseball and business. He broke barriers, unprecedented at the time, and made us all realize that we have more in common than our differences. Charley was a great American and a good Christian. Perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments is his more than 60-year marriage to his lovely, devoted partner in life, his wife Rozene. As one of the producers of the ‘Charley Pride Story,’ I’ll make sure his story is not unsung to the younger generation. While Charley has left this Earth, he is now singing in the Heavenly choir.” -Dennis Quaid

“My friendship with Charley goes back to his very first tour with Willie Nelson that I was privileged to be a part of also. As big as his voice was, his personality was even bigger… and his heart was even bigger than that. He loved jokes, loved stories, loved to laugh…. and loved us. I will miss all of this. He’s leaving us some wonderful memories. My heart goes out to Rozene’, his family, his Opry family and his many friends and fans.” –Jeannie Seely

“Saddened to hear of the passing of the great Charley Pride. I found him to be a man full of joy with a peaceful heart. My wife Robin was a huge fan and she often comes to me in the morning singing “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’,” I oblige, and respond with “and love her like the devil when you get back home.” Charley will be missed, but his music will live on.” –John Berry

“We’ve been lucky enough to work with Charlie through the years, going back to the late 1970s. He was a great singer, a trailblazer, and a genuine legend. More importantly, he was a really nice guy – a true gentleman!” –Marlon Hargis, Exile

“When Exile first became involved in Country Music, it wasn’t easy for a pop group like us trying to be accepted. Charley lent us his support and encouragement at a time when we needed it the most. We will be forever grateful. Rest well, brother.” –JP Pennington, Exile

“A great entertainer! Much loved at the Grand Ole Opry. Charley made some great records and his legacy will live long!” –David Ball

“‘Is Anybody Goin to San Antone’ was the first song I ever sang when I started at 12 years old, 50 years ago, playing night clubs in southwest Louisiana. Gonna miss a wonderful and sweet man. It was a joy and honor to work with him last year. God bless you Charley and Rest in Peace.” -Sammy Kershaw

“Charley Pride was one of my very dear friends. On several occasions he shared with me the challenges that he faced as one of the few black men in our business that had huge success. And that made him very special in my book. Several years ago, Charley recorded a song of mine that I co-wrote with some friends. It became the title cut of his new album, Comfort of Her Wings. That for me was a dream come true. It’s hard to let go of someone so precious and such a dear friend. I already miss him. But I know that the Lord has a special place in the choir for him because there has never been a voice like Charley Pride’s. I’ll see you on the other side, my friend.” -Darryl Worley

“My heart is heavy tonight to lose a great man and a great country stylist. Mr. Pride was always kind to me and he was full of life. A true country legend and gentleman. God rest his soul and bless his family in this time.”-Lorrie Morgan

“Like the rest of the world, I am shocked and saddened to learn about the death of Charley Pride. He and I went back to the early days of his career in 1966 when he made his first nationwide appearance as a guest on my syndicated television show. In later years, we toured together, shared music and argued baseball endlessly. I saw firsthand some of his early struggles as the first black performer in country music. My admiration for the way he handled himself during those years knows no bounds. I’ve lost a hero and a friend.” -Bill Anderson

“We’ve lost a lot of people that I have dearly loved over the last few months, but he was such a wonderful man, such a great storyteller. He was such a wonderful, wonderful person. We were blessed to have him.” – Irlene Mandrell

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