The Country Music Association has revealed its 2020 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award recipient—trailblazing Country Music star Charley Pride.
Pride will accept the honor during “The 54th Annual CMA Awards,” broadcasting live from Nashville’s Music City Center Wednesday, Nov. 11 on ABC. Further details will be revealed in the coming weeks.
“Charley Pride is the epitome of a trailblazer,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “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.”
The Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award is for an iconic artist who has attained the highest degree of recognition in Country Music. The Award was established to recognize an artist who has achieved both national and international prominence and stature through concert performances, humanitarian efforts, philanthropy, record sales and public representation at the highest level. The artist receiving this Award has positively impacted and contributed to the growth of the genre throughout a course of years that have proven to have an unprecedented historical impact on fans and industry alike.
Previous recipients of the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award include Willie Nelson (2012), Kenny Rogers (2013), Johnny Cash (2015), Dolly Parton (2016) and Kris Kristofferson (2019).
Through a mix of courage, determination and extraordinary talent, Pride made Country Music history by becoming the genre’s first black superstar. The Country legend has seen remarkable longevity in his career, which spans more than five decades. His distinctive baritone voice allowed him to take almost every song he touched into the Top 10, if not the No. 1 position, typically spending multiple weeks there. Between his chart debut in 1966, and 1989, Pride had 29 No. 1 Country hits and over 50 Top 10 tracks, including enduring classics like “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” (1970), “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” (1971) and “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)” (1969).
In 1971, he was named CMA Entertainer of the Year as well as Male Vocalist of the Year in both 1971 and 1972. Pride was also the first black man to co-host the CMA Awards, taking the reins in 1975 alongside Glen Campbell. He became a Grand Ole Opry member in 1993 and in 2000, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He holds three Grammy Awards and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Recording Academy in 2017.