Charley Pride’s 10 Best Songs and Biggest Hits
Charley Pride's trailblazing life and career came to an end on Dec. 12, 2020, but his catalog of hit songs will live forever. Pride notched 29 No. 1 hits during a distinguished 50-plus-year recording career. Here are 10 of his best and most well-known songs.
His first three No. 1 songs make this list of the 10 Best Charley Pride Songs, but so do late-'70s and early '80s country hits like "Where Do I Put Her Memory." When you listen through the Mississippi-born singer's catalog, you find a man very willing to adapt. In the 1960s he was more of a traditional crooner with rhinestone cowboy leanings, but within 15 years he'd become a man who embraced pop music's influence on the genre.
Prior to Pride's first No. 1 in 1969, it had been 25 years since a Black country singer topped Billboard's Country Songs chart. For this reason, Darius Rucker and Jimmie Allen have been effusive about the 86-year-old's influence and generosity, but remembrances came pouring in from all corners of America on the day he died after battling COVID-19. Like Charlie Daniels and Kenny Rogers — two Country Music Hall of Famers who also died in 2020 — Pride is remembered for his music, his hit songs and for his kindness on and offstage.
Enjoy 10 of the "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" singer's best songs, ranked by the Taste of Country editorial staff.
No. 10: "You're My Jamaica" (1979)
Charley Pride did his best Jimmy Buffett with "You're My Jamaica," an island-life love song complete with steel drums and beachside swagger. Strings fill out an arrangement that is more progressive than many of his other hits. Of course, like so many songs on this Charley Pride songs list, it'd reach No. 1.
No. 9: "Mountain of Love" (1981)
There would only be one or two more hit songs for Charley Pride after his cover of "Mountain of Love," a glossy, shuffling country-rock song that hit No. 1 for him in the early '80s. When you contrast the style with his early hits, you see just how nimble he was. Charley Pride was a progressive.
No 8: "All His Children" (Feat. Henry Mancini) (1972)
Pride's Top 5 single was nominated for an Academy Award for its use in the movie Sometimes a Great Nation. The country legend's polished sound lent itself to surprisingly few collaborations, but Henry Mancini signed on to offer a full string and choir arrangement for this deviation from Pride's established sound.
No. 7: "I'm Just Me" (1971)
Perhaps "I'm Just Me" was a biography of the charming optimist from Mississippi. Fiddle and steel guitar saturated this pleasing country arrangement — one that allowed Pride to share his world view with his fans. It's not too bad to be like the guy in "I'm Just Me" in 2020, either.
No. 6: "(I'm So) Afraid of Losing You Again" (1969)
Pride's love ballads established him as a voice to depend on as the '60s turned over to a new decade. This Dallas Frazier co-write finds a man tortured by the thought of unrequited love. The easy country swing helped shoot it to No. 1 quickly. "I'm So Afraid ..." would also get him nominated for CMA Single of the Year in 1970.
No. 5: "Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town" (1974)
While not a No. 1 song for Pride, "Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town" is essential to understanding where he came from. Pride didn't write this song, but his performance convinces you otherwise. The struggles of rural Southern America didn't find room in many of his hit songs prior to this Top 5 single, so in some ways this signaled a desire to be known as something more than a smiling crooner capable of great love and heartbreak songs.
No. 4: "All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)" (1969)
Charley Pride's first No. 1 hit came after a Top 5 cover of Hank Williams "Kaw-Liga" and set forth a career that would find him reaching No. 1 29 of times across the next 15 years. This simple country sentiment is timeless and easy to wrap your arms around. Who doesn't love a good "love will conquer all" feeling? In 1969, Pride's song would be nominated for the CMA's Single of the Year award.
No. 3: "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone" (1970)
Charley Pride's first three No. 1 singles make this list of his best songs, but "San Antone" is our favorite. The production came together for his most confident performance to date, and the lyric captured an easy kind of heartbreak that George Strait would make a career out of a decade later. "Is anybody goin' to San Antone / Or Phoenix, Arizona / Anyplace is alright as long as I / Can forget I've ever known her," he sings.
No. 2: "Where Do I Put Her Memory" (1979)
Dang, Charley, this one leaves a bruise! Take "Where Do I Put Her Memory" as a breakup song or a mournful song after a good woman's death, but only take it when there's a box of tissues nearby. This weeping ballad is among his best-written and smartly-produced songs.
No. 1: "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" (1971)
If you believe imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Pride was flattered often after releasing "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'," his signature song. George Jones, Alan Jackson and Roy Clark were among the legends who'd cover the melodic love song. During Pride's best songs you could hear him smiling, and during no song was that more true than "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'."