Jimmie Allen’s 2020 CMA Awards Performance Salutes Charley Pride
Jimmie Allen returned to his history-making debut single, "Best Shot," for his performance at the 2020 CMA Awards on Wednesday (Nov. 11). Two years (nearly to the day!) after the song first went No. 1 on Billboard's country chart, Allen's 2020 CMAs performance proved why "Best Shot" is still a fan favorite.
But the performance also served as a tribute to country music veteran Charley Pride, the iconic musician who was named the recipient of the 2020 CMAs Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. Midway through Allen's "Best Shot" rendition on Wednesday, he broke off into a brief speech about Pride along with a pre-recorded salute chronicling the country godfather's career as a trailblazer.
"Wanna thank you, country radio, for making 'Best Shot' my first No. 1 hit ever," Allen said. "But here's the truth, I might never have had a career in country music if it wasn't for a truly groundbreaking artist who took his best shot and made the best kinda history in our genre."
He added, "I'm talking about a great man named Pride, Mr. Charley Pride."
If that weren't exciting enough, Pride then joined Allen onstage to perform "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'," as Billboard reported, with stars like Eric Church singing along in the audience. After that, Allen presented Pride with the lifetime achievement award that was announced earlier in the day.
Jumping back to early 2018, Allen's "Best Shot" introduced country fans to the singer's knack for deft songwriting and smooth melodies, and provided a romantic story line that gave countless couples their wedding song. As a single, it started Allen's career on a promising high note, too: "Best Shot" made him the first Black artist to hit No. 1 with a debut single. He joined 2020 CMAs co-host Darius Rucker as the only two Black singers to debut with No. 1 country songs, but Rucker was already a known star with rock hits when he entered the country charts.
In fact, Allen recently called on Rucker to lend vocals to "Why Things Happen," which came out in July. Also featured on that track is Charley Pride, a pioneering Black country artist.
Allen was a nominee himself during the 2020 CMA Awards. He notched a mention in the New Artist of the Year category, alongside Carly Pearce, Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress and Morgan Wallen. Wallen ultimately won.