Charley Pride will be honored by the Recording Academy with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.
The three-time Grammy winner, who was the first African-American singer to perform at the Grand Opry in 1967 and became its first African-American member in 1993, will be joined by six other legendary artists: gospel great Shirley Caesar, jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal, pioneering country artist Jimmie Rodgers, R&B luminary Nina Simone and funk icon Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart.
The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates artists’ contributions to the field of recording and are chosen by the Recording Academy’s National Board of Trustees.
“These exceptionally inspiring figures are being honored as legendary performers, creative architects and technical visionaries. Their outstanding accomplishments and passion for their respective crafts have created a timeless legacy,” said Neil Portnow, president/CEO of the Recording Academy.
Pride scored his first Number One country hit with “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)” in 1969. Between 1967 and 1987, Pride landed more than 50 songs in the Top 10, including 36 Number Ones. Among the CMA’s 1971 Entertainer of the Year’s biggest hits were “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’,” “Kaw-liga” and “Where Do I Put Her Memory.”
Last year, Pride told Rolling Stone Country that, unlike some of his peers, he’s not one to bash contemporary country music. “I don’t go around kicking what country music is going through today because Carrie Underwood and all those people have had so many great hits,” he insists. “When they started bringing in people they referred to as the ‘hat gang’ — I guess it would be Garth [Brooks] and Alan Jackson — I didn’t go around saying, ‘We were better than them!’ or ‘It was better then!’ And Taylor Swift has had so much success from the vantage point of money. I mean, who’s going to kick $53 million a year?”
Pride recently joined Brad Paisley and a host of country artists for an all-star medley to open the 50th CMA Awards in November.