Let me make one thing very clear from the beginning of this:
CHARLEY PRIDE IS STILL ALIVE.
Not only is he still alive, but the 86-year old Pride was recently honored at the CMA Awards with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, where he sang his 1971 hit song “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” and then gave the most adorable awards show speech of all time.
It’s hard to imagine a legend like Charley Pride being nervous on stage after having 30 number one songs during his career. Just such an incredibly humble moment from a powerhouse and a pioneer in country music.
But earlier this year, the internet did what the internet does, and rumors started swirling that Pride had passed away. It got to the point that Charley Pride’s team released a video of him denying the rumors of his death.
And even Garth Brooks fell for the rumor.
As Garth told CMT (along with The Tennessean, and others), he had been holding on to a song for 10 years that he wanted to record with Charley Pride. And after he saw the (false) reports of Pride’s death, he told Trisha (Mrs. Yearwood):
“And I said, ’I f*cked it up again.’ Another thing in my life that I’ve wanted to do, a song I’ve been holding onto for ten years, and I waited. I just waited too long for my big ass to get it done. But then the next day, it came out that that was a false report.
So I called Charley and (his wife) Miss Rozene that day. I said, ’Hey can we just get this done?’ So I don’t know how karma works. I don’t know how signs are. But my silver living in the misinformation highway was that it got me to do what I should’ve done ten years ago. And I thought Charley was fantastic.”
Now, this is probably where the generation gap comes into play, because it looks like the source of the rumor was a site called WikiObits, which nobody under 50 is going to believe is a legitimate source. But G went an entire day thinking that the country legend had passed away. (He couldn’t call literally anybody else in the industry to verify? He didn’t try to search for even a single legitimate source? Come on Garth).
But anyway, after Garth found out the next day that Charley Pride is indeed still alive and well, he called up Pride and asked him to join him in the studio for a new song.
That song, “Where the Cross Don’t Burn,” was released this past Friday on Garth’s new album Fun, and tells the story of a young white boy befriending an old black man who teaches him about life and to be accepting of others.
It’s actually a great song. It’s got that classic Garth feel, has a great message, and of course it has a verse from the legendary Charley Pride…. it’s just a shame that you can’t listen to it anywhere but Amazon Music.
But in the meantime, here’s Charley’s performance of “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” from this year’s CMA Awards.