Charley Pride to Receive Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award

photo: Joseph Llanes

Charley Pride will be the 2020 recipient of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award handed out by the Country Music Association. To be awarded during the 54th Annual CMA Awards set to transpire on Wednesday, November 11th from Nashville and broadcast on ABC, Charley Pride will be toasted as a trailblazer, and one of country’s most successful stars in history. The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and Grand Ole Opry member amassed a whopping 29 #1 songs over his career.

The CMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award was named after Willie Nelson in 2012 when he became the inaugural recipient of the distinction. It’s not handed out every year, but when the moment feels right to recognize a country legend. Kenny Rogers received the award in 2013, Johnny Cash posthumously received it in 2015, Dolly Parton received it in 2016, and Kris Kristofferson in 2019.

“Charley Pride is the epitome of a trailblazer,” CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern says. “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.”

After playing baseball in the Negro American League, Charley Pride signed to RCA Victor and in 1967 he became the first African-American singer to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. In 1993, Pride became the Grande Ole Opry’s first African-American member, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He also received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

The awarding of Charley Pride with the Lifetime Achievement designation will also likely come with a tribute during the 54th Annual CMA Awards presentation.

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