Charley Pride Honored With Statue Outside of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium [Picture]
Charley Pride is now forever enshrined as a part of country music history, with a statue erected in his honor outside of the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The bronze figure is the latest installment of the Ryman's Icon Walk. He joins Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe and Little Jimmy Dickens, who previously received the honor.
The "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" singer's statue was revealed on Wednesday (April 12). His widow, Rozene Cohran Pride, and son Dion Pride were in attendance. The bronze figure shows Pride strumming on his guitar, which features a strap with his name on it.
"Charley Pride broke barriers and defied stereotypes, becoming one of the most successful and beloved country music artists of all time," Ryman Hospitality Properties Executive Chairman Colin Reed said at the unveiling.
"The Ryman Icon Walk honors not only his contributions and the groundwork he laid for countless other artists in country music, but also to the Ryman, where he performed many times throughout his career. Charley's influence will always be felt throughout the entire Nashville community, and his addition to the Ryman Icon Walk is our way of paying tribute to his incredible talent and enduring legacy," Reed added.
Born in Sledge, Miss., on March 18, 1934, Pride achieved great success over the course of his career. His rise to stardom came in the 1960s and 1970s as he became the first Black performer to take the Grand Ole Opry stage and win the CMA Entertainer of the Year award. He carved a path for other Black artists to do the same in the genre.
Pride garnered 30 No. 1 hits and three Grammy and CMA Awards. Both institutions awarded him Lifetime Achievement honors, as did the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The latter was awarded posthumously after the "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone" singer died in 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. He was 86 years old.
Dion Pride accepted the award on his behalf and spoke about his father's love for others and country music.
"All his accomplishments are, to me, a byproduct of the sheer love that he had for country music. He loved what he did, and these were the byproducts of that,” Dion Pride shared at the time. “For me, as his son, I'm more impressed with the man. My father was a great man, and all of his values, all of his principles, will live, and they live through me.”