You might be surprised to learn that this country music legend started his long career in Montana.

If there is one genre of music that most Montanans love, it's country music. Country music hits the soul of most locals about their everyday lives, whether they are enjoying an adult beverage or square dancing the night away. People love country music.

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Country music has had massive legends like George Strait, Willie Nelson, and others. One legend that isn't often talked about is Charley Pride.

GRAMMY Salute to Music Legends - Show
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS

Charley Pride was one of the first prominent African-American country singers during his career from the 1960s through the 80s. Charley Pride had such a fantastic career that he is in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

What Does Charley Pride Have To Do with Montana?

Well, it's Black History Month, and many Montanans might not know that Charley Pride started his illustrious music career in Big Sky Country.

We thought this would be the perfect time to discuss Charley Pride and his relationship with Montana.

Charley Pride first came to Montana to play professional baseball. In 1960, he played for the Missoula Timberjacks(now the Paddleheads).

After that season, he played in Helena. This is where his singing career started to blossom. The team manager heard about Pride's singing ability and paid him to sing before the games to attract crowds.

GRAMMY Salute to Music Legends - Show
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS

Charley Pride would travel around Montana and play gigs in Polson, Philipsburg, and other towns to make money. After a few years of performing, he left Montana for Texas, where he signed a record deal with RCA, and the rest is history.

Charley Pride bought a house years later in Montana and split time in Big Sky Country and other places.

Charley Pride performed at the Red Ants Pants Festival in 2014 and was quoted with a genuine feeling about Montanas that most would agree with. Charley said this to Last Best News,

Montana is a very conservative state. I stood out like a neon. But once they let you in, you become a Montanan. When the rumor was that I was leaving. They kept saying, ‘we will let you in, you can’t leave.

That is a perfect statement about Montana and its residents. If you move to Montana and respect the lifestyle, anyone is welcome.

Charley Pride sadly passed away in 2020 due to COVID-19 complications. Charley will forever be a Montanan and a country music legend.

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