Home Music Music Lists

Charley Pride: 10 Essential Songs

From his debut single “The Snakes Crawl at Night” to the crossover smash “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’”


From 1966 to the early Eighties, Charley Pride was a country chart stalwart, scoring 29 Number Ones on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and more than 50 Top Tens in total. With his rich vocals, Pride, who died on Saturday, showed himself to be a master of heartbroken ballads with hits like “Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger” and “Just You and Me.” He also enjoyed considerable crossover success with his signature hits “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” and “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” which propelled him into superstardom at the beginning of the Seventies. As we mourn his death, we look back at 10 essential cuts from the Country Music Hall of Fame member’s remarkable career.

From Rolling Stone US

Play video

Matt Kent/Redferns/Getty Images

“Just Between You and Me” (1966)

After releasing a couple singles that went nowhere, Pride had his first country Top Ten hit with this heartbroken ode to time’s inability to heal romantic wounds. Producer Jack Clement was concerned about white country audiences responding to a black artist singing a love song, but Pride’s rich vocal and warm, matter-of-fact intimacy sold the song anyway. “I didn’t kick then and I’m not kicking now because I think they had a point,” Pride recalled. “We weren’t even off the ground, but it ended up that all my fans want to hear me sing is love songs.” J.D.

Play video

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

“Roll on Mississippi” (1981)

The writers of “Roll on Mississippi,” Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan, were from Minnesota and Florida, respectively, but between the two of them and Pride, the trio imbued this 1981 Top Ten hit with gentle waves of nostalgia and wanderlust worthy of a classic Southern novel. Moving along to acoustic guitar and harmonica accompaniment, Pride’s sweet, yearning vocal is a wondrous thing, reaching dreamy high notes and then offering a subtle, yet loving homage to “Ol’ Man River” (both the song and the mighty body of water itself) in the tune’s closing moments. S.B.

Play video

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

“Mountain of Love” (1981)

In early 1981, 21 years after it was first released by its writer Harold Dorman and nearly seven years after Bruce Springsteen performed it during a handful of shows, Pride topped the country chart for the 26th time with his rousing, bluesy rendition of “Mountain of Love,” also a major hit for Johnny Rivers in the early Sixties. The production may date it a bit but Pride’s impassioned performance gets to the heart of the tune’s prevailing misery as he stands atop the mountain, surveying the city below and noting the church where “wedding bells are ringin’ and they shoulda been ours.” S.B.