Things You Didn’t Know About Charley Pride

His name wasn’t supposed to be Charley

Originally born “Charl Frank Pride,” there was an error on his birth certificate which made the singer’s legal name Charley Frank Pride.

He had a huge family

He grew up one of 11 siblings to sharecropper parents in the delta town of Sledge, Mississippi. Parents Mack and Tessie B. Stewart Pride raised their children in a three-room house and taught them to be grateful for what they had.

His love of country music came from his father

Pride has said that when he was growing up his father would play the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts on the radio. He was drawn to the bluesy rhythms and country twang of artists like Hank Williams, eventually teaching himself to play the guitar by mimicking the artists he listened to regularly.

He was a baseball player

Though he had always loved music, Pride initially wanted to pursue a career with the major leagues. Starting out in the minors he pitched for the Memphis Red Sox in the Negro American League followed by the Boise Yankees, which was the Class C team for the New York Yankees. Though his career didn’t come to fruition he always loved the sport, even becoming an owner of the Texas Rangers in 2010.

He pursued music after his baseball career hit a snag

After rejections from major league teams the Angels and the New York Mets, it was time to pursue his passion for music. Pride auditioned for producer Jack Clement in Memphis who was so impressed he connected him with Chet Atkins, then vice-president of RCA recording in Nashville. Atkins was also impressed and offered the singer a contract with RCA Records. The rest is history.

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