April 17

Song that Describes Who Charley Pride Is, “I’m Just Me”

Song that Describes Who Charley Pride Is, “I’m Just Me” 1

Tunesmith Glenn Martin

Most songwriters that go to Nashville with a beat-up old car. Most of them end up sleeping in that car for several months or longer to get their careers off and running. And those were the lucky ones. However, songwriter Glenn Martin doesn’t have a story like that. He came to the Music City with a Cadillac. Having said that, it’s obvious that he has money more than enough to sustain him.

Glenn Martin didn’t have to worry about where his next meal would come from so that took a lot of the pressure off, and he could freely work on his writing. In his hometown in Smyrna, Georgia, Glenn Martin owned an instrument store. He had worked out an arrangement with a club called “The Playroom” in nearby Atlanta. It’s where country artists perform at The Playroom would stay over and drop by at Glenn’s store for a special promotion of some kind. The performer would appear and end up playing with a band that was set up in the store. With this technique, Martin became acquainted with most of the top country acts of the ‘60s.

When Glenn Martin met Jeannie Seely, he began a friendship with her husband, songwriter Hank Cochran. On Cochran’s advice, Glenn sold his share of the business and moved to Nashville in 1968.

Tunesmith Forging for Charley Pride

Charley Pride was one of the performers Glenn had met through his Smyrna operation. After establishing his career as a songwriter, Martin gained an opportunity to spend a few days with Charley Pride in the Carolinas. During that trip, he fashioned “I’m Just Me” specifically for Pride.

The tunesmith had composed an additional song and that was the one Charley Pride really was enthusiastic about. So, Martin laid that one down on a small tape recorder for him at the hotel. Then he followed it up with “I’m Just Me.” Thereafter, he gave the tape to Charley Pride. He ended up recording “I’m Just Me” and never did do the other one. Pride was pleased with “I’m Just Me.” He felt that the tune could work almost as his theme song. He thought its lyrics fit the image of himself perfectly. He had no gimmicks. What you saw was what you got with him, and that’s the image Charley wanted to project.

“I’m Just Me” became Pride’s seventh of twenty-nine No. 1 hits. On July 31, 1971, it reached the summit of the charts where it stayed for four weeks.


Charley Pride, Glenn Martin

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