Charley Pride unofficially started his music career in the late 1950s as a ballplayer with the Negro American League’s Memphis Red Sox singing and playing guitar on the team bus between ballparks.
Self-taught on a guitar bought at the age 14 from Sears Roebuck, Pride would join various bands' onstage as he and the team roved the country. Pride returned to the Music City and was introduced to producer, Jack Clement, who gave him several songs to learn. When Clement heard Pride’s renditions, he immediately asked the fledgling singer if he could cut two songs in two hours. Pride agreed, and “The Snakes Crawl at Night” and “Atlantic Coastal Line” were recorded.
Three months later, Pride’s two song demo landed in the hands of already legendary RCA Records head, Chet Atkins, who was so moved he immediately signed him to the label. Pride’s first single hit the airwaves in January 1966 and just like that his star was on the rise.
Within a short period of time “The Snakes Crawl at Night” was climbing the charts with his “Before I Met You” closing in on its tail. On October 4, 2000, Charley was honored with the highest country music award, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Charley wept when his name was announced by Hall of Famer, Brenda Lee.