Country music superstar Charley Pride was honored Wednesday night (Nov. 11) at the 54th annual CMA Awards with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.
After singing "Best Shot," presenter Jimmie Allen made a short speech in which he credited Pride for "taking his best shot and making the best kind of history in our genre."
Pride performed "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" with Allen as his duet partner right after a video aired that chronicled several of Pride's achievements.
An acceptance speech followed, during which Pride thanked his fans and key figures in his career, including Cowboy Jack Clement.
"Charley Pride is the epitome of a trailblazer," says CMA CEO Sarah Trahern in a statement. "Few other artists have grown country music's rich heritage and led to the advancement of country music around the world like Charley. His distinctive voice has created a timeless legacy that continues to echo through the country community today. We could not be more excited to honor Charley with one of CMA's highest accolades."
Per a press release, the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award "is for an iconic artist who has attained the highest degree of recognition in country music. The Award was established to recognize an artist who has achieved both national and international prominence and stature through concert performances, humanitarian efforts, philanthropy, record sales, and public representation at the highest level. The artist receiving this Award has positively impacted and contributed to the growth of the genre throughout a course of years that have proven to have an unprecedented historical impact on fans and industry alike."
Pride was the first Black country artist to find sustained chart success. Between his chart debut in 1966 and 1989, Pride had 29 No. 1 country hits and over 50 Top 10 tracks, including "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone" (1970), "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" (1971), and "All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)" (1969).
Honors for Pride include CMA Entertainer of the Year (1971) and Male Vocalist of the Year (1971, 1972) awards plus three Grammy awards. He's also earned spots in the Country Music Hall of Fame and on the Grand Ole Opry cast.
Pride made history in 1975 as the first Black man to co-host the CMA Awards when he shared master of ceremonies duties of Glen Campbell.