♫ Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’ ♫ R.I.P. Charley Pride

I am not, as many of you know, a fan of country music.  In fact, I find that hard-core country, bluegrass, and western tunes actually hurt my ears and make me cringe.  I have long loved Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and a handful of others whose music is … country, but of a softer nature.  But … Charley Pride deserves to be honoured here tonight for his accomplishments.

Charley Pride, one of country music’s first Black superstars whose rich baritone on such hits as Kiss an Angel Good Morning helped sell millions of records and made him the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 86 from complications of the coronavirus.

Mr. Pride was a singer, guitarist, and what you might not have known, a professional baseball player!  During the peak years of his recording career (1966–87), he garnered 52 top-10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, 30 of which made it to #1. He won the Entertainer of the Year award at the Country Music Association Awards in 1971.  Pride was one of three African-American members of the Grand Ole Opry, and he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.

Mr. Pride was not the first Black artist to record country music, but none of his predecessors had anywhere near the degree of success he enjoyed, and he went a long way toward breaking the colour barrier in the country music world.  Though Mr. Pride faced racism in the industry — the singer Loretta Lynn was instructed not to embrace him at an awards show in the 1970s should he win the award she was presenting — many of his white counterparts in country music welcomed him as the star he had become. (He did win the award, and Ms. Lynn not only hugged but kissed him.)

When word spread that Mr. Pride was Black, many radio stations refused to play his music. But Faron Young, a white country music star, came to Mr. Pride’s defense, telling one station manager that “if he takes Charley Pride off, take all my records off.”

Dolly Parton’s tribute to Charley Pride …

“I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you. Rest In Peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans.”

And now … the song that Charley Pride was best known for …

Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’
Song by Charley Pride

When ever I chance to meet, some old friends on the street
They wonder how does a man get to be this way
I’ve always got a smiling face, anytime & any place
And every time they ask me why I just smile & say

You’ve got to kiss an angel good morning
And let her know you think about her when you’re gone
Kiss an angel good morning
And love her like the devil when you get back home

Well people may try to guess, the secret of my happiness
But some of them never learn it’s a simple thing
The secret I’m speaking of, is a woman & a man in love
And the answer is in this song that I always sing

You’ve got to kiss an angel good morning
And let her know you think about her when you’re gone
Kiss an angel good morning
And love her like the devil when you get back home

Kiss an angel good morning
And let her know you think about her when you’re gone
Kiss an angel good morning
And love her like the devil when you get back home

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Al Anderson / Bob Dipiero / Joe Klimek
Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management, Bluewater Music Corp.

♫ Crazy ♫

I was going to play one for Ellen tonight, but I remembered (with a little nudge of a reminder) that I had promised Larry last week that I would play this by Patsy Cline!  I tend to forget things, like where my car keys are when they are in my hand, and to put clothes into the washer before I run it, so it was no surprise that I forgot to play this for Larry.  Sorry, my friend! I will get to Ellen’s song tomorrow, if somebody will remind me.

Patsy-Cline

I had no idea, until 3 minutes ago, that this song, released in 1961, was written by none other than Willie Nelson!  At the time, Willie was a struggling country singer and got a big break when Cline recorded this and made it a hit. It has become one of Nelson’s most enduring songs. He covered the song for his own debut album, …And Then I Wrote, in 1962.  Willie later revealed that the original title of the song was to be Stupid.

I also did not know that just two months before she recorded Crazy, Ms. Cline was in a serious auto accident and was thrown through the windscreen (remember, they didn’t even have seatbelts back then), and at the first session, she couldn’t hit the high notes because of a broken rib, so the studio musicians recorded their parts without her. Two weeks later, she did her vocals while standing on crutches.

Tragically, Patsy would die in a plane crash just two years after the release of this song, at the young age of only 30.

There is so much fascinating trivia about Patsy Cline that I cannot possibly include it all here, but here are a few tidbits …

  • She was the first female country singer to headline in Vegas
  • She became the first solo female artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973
  • In 1997, Cline’s recording of “Crazy” was named the number one jukebox hit of all time
  • Her given name was Virginia Patterson Hensley and as a child she was known as Ginny
  • In 1993, the U.S. Postal Service created special-issue postage stamps to honor Patsy Cline, along with other country superstars such as Hank Williams, the Carter Family and Bob Wills.
  • When Patsy was 13, she was hospitalized with a throat infection and rheumatic fever. She later said, “The fever affected my throat and when I recovered I had this booming voice like Kate Smith.”

Wikipedia has an impressive amount of detail about Patsy’s life, death, and the mark she left on the music industry … check it out if you’re interested.  And another article I came across, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Patsy Cline, also had some really interesting facts and trivia.

Thanks Larry … I had fun doing the legwork on this one!

Crazy
Patsy Cline

Crazy, I’m crazy for feeling so lonely
I’m crazy, crazy for feeling so blue
I knew you’d love me as long as you wanted
And then someday you’d leave me for somebody new

Worry, why do I let myself worry?
Wondering what in the world did I do?
Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I’m crazy for trying and crazy for crying

And I’m crazy for loving you
Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you
I’m crazy for trying and crazy for crying
And I’m crazy for loving you.

Songwriters: Willie Nelson
Crazy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC