America’s national anthem, ‘The Star Spangled Banner’, obviously had some of its utmost performances at the Super Bowl. There was Whitney, of course. Beyoncé also took a chance at it 14 years ago. Even Neil Diamond did a remarkably solid job. Garth, Faith, Dixie Chicks, Carrie and Luke were some of the pure country singers to tackle the anthem. But who was first? Like, very first?
Yes! It’s this man. Charley Pride.
Charley Pride’s journey to his status as a country music legend wasn’t an easy one. Since the beginning, Pride knew that shaping a path in country music was going to be a challenge. Like many of his generations, Pride had to put up with more than his fair share of racism. Even some of his fans used nasty nicknames when pitching him and his music. His first couple of recordings did not even show a picture of his face. Still, his talent won more than any other thing he is called. Pride topped the country charts 36 times and has sold over 70 million albums. His biggest hits were ‘Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ and ‘Is Anybody Going to San Antone’. He was the biggest-selling artist for his label for his label since Elvis.
A Performance that Changed History
Regarded as a gap-breaker artist in country music, one example of his influence on country music comes in the form of a performance that dates back 44 years ago. He sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl VIII in 1974. Before him, at Super Bowls I-VII, the national anthem was performed by groups like marching bands, choirs, and instrumentalists.
Note that not only was he the first solo performer to sing the anthem at the Super Bowl. Changing history, he was also the first black performer to attain country music prominence.
His rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is notable today for how undistinguished it was. These days, performances of America’s national anthem at the big game are recognized for rising leaps, astounding musical add-ons. Pride simply sings the song. Totally striking!
After making Super Bowl history on Jan. 13, 1974, Pride’s career went on and on. No second thoughts he received last year’s Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Check out the rare video of Pride’s groundbreaking performance below. The national anthem starts around 1:40 — Pride sings “America the Beautiful” first:
Just in time for Super Bowl, yes? Share this trivia with your friends. Watch more of Charley Pride’s hit songs at http://www.countrythangdaily.com/.