The Country Music Association announced the recipient of its 2020 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award this week, sharing that Charley Pride will be honored with the award at the 2020 CMA Awards next month. The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates iconic artists who have attained the highest degree of recognition in country music.
"Charley Pride is the epitome of a trailblazer," Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, said 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."
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A former professional baseball player, Pride began his music career while he was still playing, ultimately earning a contract with RCA Victor. He began seeing success on the country charts with the release of his third single, "Just Between You and Me," which earned Pride a Grammy nomination. Pride went on to become country music's first Black superstar, releasing 29 No. 1 country hits and over 50 Top 10 songs including "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone," the million-selling crossover single "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'," and "All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)."
Pride was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1971 and Male Vocalist of the Year in 1971 and 1972, becoming the first Black man to host the CMA Awards when he did so alongside Glen Campbell in 1975. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1993 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2017, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy.
The 2020 CMA Awards will be hosted by Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker, the latter of whom will make their hosting debut. The 2019 CMA Awards were hosted by McEntire, Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood, and Underwood and Brad Paisley hosted together for the 11 years prior. This year's show will air Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.