Dion Pride, Charley’s Son, Remembers Late Father With ‘CMT Giants’ Performance [Watch]
Dion Pride clearly got his father's talent. The son of the late Charley Pride offered an energetic performance of his dad's song "Mountain of Love" during the CMT Giants: Charley Pride television special that aired on Wednesday night (Aug. 25).
Written and originally released by Harold Dorman in 1960, "Mountain of Love" became a No. 1 hit for Pride in early 1982 — his 26th country chart-topper. The song comes from Charley Sings Everybody's Choice, which found Pride working with producer Norro Wilson for the first time.
Backed by a large band that includes string players and multiple backup singers, the younger Pride accompanies himself on electric guitar as he grooves along to the upbeat, retro-pop song. About midway through the performance, he plays along with the band during an instrumental bridge.
Watch Pride's full performance below:
"From an early age, I knew I wanted to do this," Pride tells People of his own music career. "So, I always picked [my dad's] brain. And, for the most part, my dad would basically say, 'if you want the answers, here they are.' And I took full advantage of that as much as I could. But, truthfully, he never brought the stardom or fame part of his life home."
In addition to Dion and his mother Rozene Pride, Charley's wife of several decades, CMT Giants: Charley Pride included performances and tributes from Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Darius Rucker, Gladys Knight, Jimmie Allen, Lee Ann Womack, Luke Combs featuring Robert Randolph and Reyna Roberts, Mickey Guyton, Wynonna Judd, Ronnie Milsap, Neal McCoy and Nolan Ryan. The 90-minute special also included clips and commentary from Pride, who died in December of COVID-19, at the age of 86.
"I didn't know if we could get all of those people together in one place. I just don't know how much that happens or how many times that's going to happen again," Dion Pride reflects. "I don't know if there are any words to really describe how powerful it was to see these people, with the stature of their careers and everything, come out of to honor my family and my dad."
Pride scored a long string of 52 Top 10 country hits over the course of several decades; his No. 1 hits included "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone," "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'," "I'd Rather Love You," "I'll Be Leaving Alone" and many more. He became country music’s first Black superstar, as well as the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
"My father was very humble and grateful for all the doors that were opened for him throughout his life. But as many accomplishments as he had bestowed on him, it still doesn't touch the man that he was," Dion Pride says. "He was a walking example to me that there were no excuses. "If you live right and your character's right and you work hard, none of the pigmentation aspect of it matters. That was a very valuable lesson for me to learn so early on."
CMT Giants: Charley Pride will air once more on CMT on Sunday (Aug. 29) at 12PM ET. The CMT Giants series has been around since 2006.