meta-scriptGarth Brooks Won't Stop Honoring Charley Pride A Year After His Passing: "He Made You Feel Like You Belonged" |
Garth Brooks and Dion Pride

Dion Pride and Garth Brooks

Photo: Blue Rose, Inc.


Garth Brooks Won't Stop Honoring Charley Pride A Year After His Passing: "He Made You Feel Like You Belonged"

As the first anniversary of Charley Pride's passing loomed, Garth Brooks appeared at the National Museum of African American music to honor him. Here, he opens up about how he feels about the country music titan — a man he still "loves and worships."

GRAMMYs/Nov 2, 2021 - 12:38 am

Garth Brooks is the biggest-selling solo artist of all time in any genre; Charley Pride was unfairly, bizarrely viewed as an outlier in country music due to being a Black man. But at the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1991, it was Pride who assured Brooks that he was meant to be there — not the other way around.

"You're at the CMA Awards as a new guy, man. You just try to melt into a wall somewhere," the two-time GRAMMY winner recalls to over FaceTime, illustrating his impostor syndrome. "And Charley Pride comes and seeks you out, with that beautiful gap-toothed smile. The first thing he asked Brooks? "Hey, you're an Aquarian, ain't ya?" — because he had researched his birthday in advance.

Such was and is the beauty of Pride, the country music icon and three-time GRAMMY winner. On Dec. 12, 2020, Pride passed away of complications from COVID-19, just a month after appearing at the CMA Awards. As the first anniversary of his tragic death loomed, Brooks took the stage on Oct. 25 at the National Museum of African American music, where the RIAA honored Pride with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award. There, Brooks paid homage to his fallen hero.

Read More: For Charley Pride, Black Country Music Was A Self-Evident Truth

This tribute included Brooks' renditions of songs made famous by Pride, including "Mountain of Love," "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" and "Is Anyone Goin' to San Antone." Regarding Pride's uncanny range, Brooks says the latter song is nothing short of an endurance test: "You just push the pedal all the way to the floor and try to hang on to that song for as long as you can."

All in all, Pride's gargantuan talent, whole-hearted humility and aw-shucks sweetness doesn't just make Brooks a fan: "I absolutely worship him," he says. And about the roadblocks Pride faced due to his melanin content: "How much bravery, how much courage, but how much confidence in yourself you must have to survive that and still have the attitude that you have!" caught up with Brooks to discuss his appearance at the National Museum of African American music, what Pride means to him and his 2021/2022 touring plans — which, yes, will require proof of full vaccination to behold in person.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

It's crazy to me that Charley Pride got any grief for being a Black man in country music, when Black people invented that style of music.

It's funny, because when you say that — when you talk about Charley Pride and his music — the fact that he was a Black guy is nothing. It doesn't matter.

This is the statement that I made last night, and I need everybody to hear the whole thing: When it comes to Charley Pride being a Black guy, it did not matter. But it mattered so much that Charley Pride was a Black man.

So, in the places where it shouldn't matter, it didn't. And in the places it should matter, it did. One hundred percent. He walked that line so good. He seemed to be the only guy who really didn't have an issue with it, you know what I mean? It just seemed natural to him.

And what I loved about last night, too, when you talk about all artists that can sing any format, you're going to see them do this and that. He could have sung anything he wanted, but he chose country music. I absolutely worship him for that reason.

How did the night go? How did it feel to pay homage to the man?

It was cool. We started the whole night with, "Hey, look, when you talk about black and white" — especially with journalism. My major was in journalism, so I have this ultimate worship and respect for journalism. But in this time, journalism is looking for any kind of slip or anything they can to put the two against each other.

So, the first statement I said last night was, "This is all going to be about love — all about a man who was all about love. To listen to the heart and sincerity of two guys that loved one another." That immediately diffused the whole black-and-white thing.

And even though Alice Randall, a friend of mine who was doing the Q&A, touched on the black-and-white thing a couple of times, it was nothing in a poking kind of way, but more in a salute to a man. 

Me and you are probably like this — I think we're all like this — our biggest enemy in our whole lives is going to be ourselves. It just is. We're the reason why we succeed and fall so many times. He had that same enemy, but after he cleared that hurdle, he was staring at a wall that most of us didn't have to stare at.

Again, that's another reason for my respect and love for him to go through the roof.

What internal hurdles are you referring to, as far as Pride is concerned?

We shoot ourselves in the foot every time. Our own ego. It's not just country singers; it's you, me, my wife, everybody. Our biggest enemy is ourselves. Our imaginations scare us out of doing a lot of things we should do, and our own ignorance [Chuckles] talks us into doing things we shouldn't do.

We all have those internal wars, but once you clear those and take a deep breath — "OK, I got through that part of my day" — he was staring at being a Black guy in country music. He was staring at a bigger hurdle than any of us who is not a Black guy in country music was going to face.

He always seemed to approach the topic with either indifference or humor, and he didn't have to do that. He could have rightfully felt victimized, but he chose not to.

Yeah, but his talent was also his strength enough to get through anything. In a controversy, it's going to come down to physical, always. It's when strength gets to have the upper hand. With him, any controversy is going to come down to talent: "Step up. You try to sing 'Roll On Mississippi' every night, because the lows are extremely low and the highs are extremely high."

hate trying to sing that song [Laughs]. I did it last night to embarrass myself, to show everybody — because I'm pretty proud of my range. I don't know how that guy did it — and he did it every freakin' night! That's the crazy thing.

He was pretty much the quintessential country singer in every possible way.

Isn't that great? That's a great way to put it. And, oh yeah, he's Black! [Laughs.]

His voice disarmed people. It made me a fan. My mom loved "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'"; that was her song. So, I already loved him before I knew anything about him.

Tell me about your history with Pride, coming up in the country world. What did he mean to you through the years, leading up to this night?

Well, you have your idols, your heroes. BuckHaggardJones, Pride — that era of guys.

Then, you're at the CMA Awards as a new guy, man. You just try to melt into a wall somewhere, and Charley Pride comes and seeks you out. [Voice grows hushed.] With that beautiful, gap-toothed smile. And the first thing he says to you: "Hey, you're an Aquarian, aren't ya?" He knew everybody's sign. He knew everybody's birthday.

I was telling this story last night: One of my really, really sweet gifts that I did and do not deserve was, when you become a member of the [Country Music] Hall of Fame, for some reason, they'll trot out all the members right before the show starts. And for some reason — I don't know why — every year, Charley Pride and I sat together. It was just the order they put us in.

I couldn't figure it out, because it was never alphabetical, but I was always sitting next to Charley Pride. I just loved it, man. He was so much fun to be around and be with, and in between the awards, he'd tell you stories about the person who was there. He knew a lot about everything.

Including your birthday!

Yeah! And if he knew you, he'd know your birthday as well! That's just the kind of guy he was. He was great with numbers, and what an unbelievable memory.

If that's not enough, he would sit there and always kind of poke or touch you before he talked to you. He'd reach over and grab your knee and go [Sings]  "I went to work for her that summer!" And you're thinking, "Charley Pride's singing a Garth Brooks song! It's so good!"

He made you feel like you belonged, and you don't. You're a new guy. Even if you're in the Hall of Fame, you don't belong with those names. But he made you feel like you do.

I love that you illuminated what a great singer he was by poking fun at yourself a bit.

He was also what I call an "against-the-wall" singer. He had this real push in his voice. That's how he jumped off the radio. So, if you're going to imitate Pride, get ready: It's going to take everything you've got in your chest to get it out.

Like, "Is Anyone Goin' to San Antone": You just push the pedal all the way to the floor and try to hang on to that song for as long as you can. And, again, knowing that this guy did this every night — "Mountain of Love," so many good, good things that this guy did.

I think my favorite part of last night was Dion, his son. Because the truth is, you're only a good person if your children are good people, because it means you're focused in the right areas, right? That kid is as sweet as his dad, as articulate as his dad. Not as outgoing as his dad, but more reserved, which makes you love him even more.

Beautiful kid, like his dad. I mean, when you look at him, you go, "Holy s***! It's Charley!" Charley is well-represented in the next generation by his son, and his son is not trying to be Charley Pride's son. Dion is trying to be Dion at the same time.

He understands the weight that's on his shoulders of representing his father and [his mother] Miss Rozene in such a way. He does it well.

Looking at the big picture, this part of music history still doesn't make sense to me: Why would a Black-founded style of music flip to where Black artists were seen as interlopers?

I don't know — I don't know the history all the way back like you do. I can just tell you this: There's a guy named Buddy Mondlock, and he's a singer/songwriter out of Chicago. He's got this song, and it's a beautiful song ["No Choice"], about why this guy did what he did.

So, let's talk about why Charley Pride ended up singing country music: Buddy Mondlock's song says, "He had no choice." It wasn't like, "I'm going to choose this or this." He had no choice, because his heart and soul told Charley Pride, "You're going to be a country singer. Not just a country singer — you're going to be one of the greatest ones ever."

What I love is that Charley never questioned his faith: "If that's what I'm supposed to do, then that's what I'm supposed to do. Well, here comes all the hell and high water that comes with being a Black guy being a country singer in the '60s."

Jiminy Christmas! How much bravery, how much courage, but how much confidence in yourself you must have to survive that and still have the attitude that you have! Never once did I hear him bitch about anything. He was one of those guys who said, "OK, if you're going to make my track twice as long, I'm going to roll up my sleeves and I'm going to run twice as fast." 

You see that work ethic in Reba McEntire. You see it in Dolly Parton. You can see it in the greats out there: "Hey, if this is my road, then this is what I've got to do, because I have no choice, and I firmly believe that." I think Charley believed that as well.

I think you encapsulated your feelings on Pride well. What else is going on with you lately?

Nothing, man. In a pandemic, you're trying to do your best to be something good for society, so we're set on the stadium shows — kind of opened the dive bar tour back up a little bit, because those are going to be fully vaccinated. I think we're doing the Ryman; it's about 1,500 seats, fully vaccinated.

So, we'll do this probably until the end of this year, and then in '22 we'll start the last year of the stadium tour. It was supposed to end around the late summer of '22; that still is the plan. We've lost a lot of cities in the pandemic. It breaks my heart. There's some cities I really, really wanted to play in that we're just not going to get to.

But, hopefully, we'll finish up in '22 and figure out what we're going to do after that. Being married to somebody 10 times more talented than you makes you go, "Hey, what does she want to do, and do I need to be by her side when she does it?" So, we're going to have a conversation and see what we're going to do after the summer of '22.

Garth Brooks. Photo: Diana King

I appreciate you being so conscientious about vaccination. Some artists I won't name are jumping out saying, "I won't play there!"

[Laughs.] Hey, man, just remember: If it's not a law, then it's a choice. As much as you might respect or not respect people's choices, still: Be prepared for them to make that choice. So, until it becomes a law, that's all we can do.

So, to Nancy [Seltzer], my publicist, I said "What do I do?" She said, "You don't have to do anything. You don't have to tell people to do something. Just tell people what you've done." I'm fully vaccinated. The tour is fully vaccinated. That's how we roll. And I get it if that's not how you roll, but that's what we do.

Anything else you want to say about Pride or yesterday evening?

No. Since you're 40 years younger than me, anything you can do — and your generation can do — for Charley Pride, I would appreciate as a country music fan.

Charley Pride Honored With GRAMMY Museum Mississippi's Inaugural Crossroads Of American Music Award

Michael Sticka, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Museum, Lauryn Hill, and Jimmy Jam
(L-R): Michael Sticka, President/CEO of the GRAMMY Museum, Lauryn Hill, and Jimmy Jam

Photo: Sarah Morris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


6 Key Highlights From The Inaugural GRAMMY Hall of Fame Gala Honoring Lauryn Hill, Donna Summer, Atlantic Records & Many More

The Recording Academy and GRAMMY Museum celebrated music's legacy with tributes to Charley Pride, Wanda Jackson, Buena Vista Social Club, and more, featuring performances by Andra Day, The War and Treaty, and other musical greats.

GRAMMYs/May 23, 2024 - 12:34 am

Many years ago, veteran CBS journalist Anthony Mason lost his entire record collection when it disappeared in transit as he moved from one place to another. Mason was inconsolable, and you could still hear a tinge of sadness in his voice when he recounted this painful story at the inaugural GRAMMY Hall of Fame Gala, held on May 21 at the Novo Theater in Los Angeles. The evening’s eloquent and entertaining host, Mason was making a point with his personal anecdote of lost records: music is priceless, one of our most treasured possessions — both as individuals and as a community. Preserving its legacy is essential.

It’s been over 50 years since the GRAMMY Hall of Fame was established by the Recording Academy's National Trustees to honor records of deep historical significance that are at least 25 years old. This year, the Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Museum paid tribute to 10 newly inducted recordings (four albums and six singles) by artists including De La Soul, Lauryn Hill, Buena Vista Social Club, Donna Summer, Guns 'N Roses, Charley Pride, Kid Ory’s Creole Orchestra, the Doobie Brothers, William Bell, Wanda Jackson, and Atlantic Records, the annual Gala's inaugural label honoree. 

The first Hall of Fame Gala was a dazzling event presented by City National Bank, complete with guest speakers and performances by Andra Day, The War and Treaty, William Bell, Elle King, and HANSON covering some of the inducted works. The event underscored the sumptuous variety that continues to define popular music, spanning the sounds of hip-hop, rock, country, R&B, disco, and even the venerable Cuban dance music of decades past.

Here are six takeaway points from an evening marked by celebration and transcendent musical memories.

Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” Has Lost None Of Its Edge

Studious music fans are well aware that “I Feel Love” — written by Donna Summer with visionary Italian producer Giorgio Moroder and British songwriter Pete Bellotte — is a shimmering disco gem, a futuristic precursor to the entire EDM genre. What was stunning about the Gala performance of the track by singer and actress Andra Day is how edgy and fresh the 1977 track still sounds today. Day’s ethereal reading was appropriately hypnotic, with live drums, nebulous synth textures and glorious, three-part vocal harmonies.

The Future Of American Music Is In Good Hands With The War and Treaty

Formed by husband and wife Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter, The War and Treaty were rightfully nominated for Best New Artist at the 2024 GRAMMYs earlier this year. The duo’s electrifying combination of Americana, gospel, and rock is especially effective on a live stage, and the pair delivered a memorable rendition of Charley Pride's inducted Hall Of Fame country hit, “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” recorded in 1971. The War and Treaty also received a standing ovation later in the evening for their performance of Ray Charles' classic, "What'd I Say," released in 1959.

26 Years Later, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Is Still Ahead Of Its Time

Released in August 1998, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. alone, and became the first hip-hop artist to win Album Of The Year at the 1999 GRAMMYs. At the Gala, Andra Day delighted the audience — including Lauryn Hill and her family — with a soulful version of hidden track “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” originally a Frankie Valli hit from 1967. Day's performance was marked by brassy accents and funky bass lines, creating an unapologetically lush rendition that mirrored the sonic richness of Hill's original take.

Read more: Revisiting 'The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill': Why The Multiple GRAMMY-Winning Record Is Still Everything 25 Years Later

Atlantic Records Transformed The Face Of Global Culture

Celebrating 75 years of inaugural label honoree Atlantic Records in the span of a few minutes loomed like an impossible task, but the Gala producers paid tribute to the legacy label well. Beginning with a short video, the event segment highlighted the miraculous roster assembled by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson that included Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, ABBA, Phil Collins, and Bruno Mars — to name just a few. But it was the actual performances that highlighted the label’s hold on pop culture: Ravyn Lenae’s breathy take on Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song” made a case for considering the 1973 hit as one of the most vulnerable recordings of all time. On the other side of the dynamic spectrum, the epic rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” by alt-rock quartet Shinedown was appropriately intense.

The Wondrous Legacy Of Stax Records Should Not Be Underestimated

The home of such legendary artists as Otis Redding, The Staple Singers and Carla Thomas, Memphis-based Stax Records developed a rich, ragged sound with gospel, blues, R&B and luminous pop as its foundational pillars. Currently the subject of an HBO documentary series, "Stax: Soulsville USA," the record label defined American music during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Memphis singer/songwriter William Bell was one of its most prolific artists, and he regaled guests with a performance of his Hall of Fame inducted debut 1961 single, “You Don’t Miss Your Water.” At 84 years of age — and the winner of a Best Americana Album at the 2017 GRAMMYs — Bell was in rare form, and the band backed him up seamlessly, reproducing the sinuous organ lines of the original.

Read more: 1968: A Year Of Change For The World, Memphis & Stax Records

Future Editions Of The Gala Will Continue To Surprise And Delight

The inaugural GRAMMY Hall of Fame Gala set a high standard for future celebrations of iconic recordings. The event proved to be fertile ground for the creation of indelible music moments, showcasing the beauty and authority of music across genres and generations. Other honored Hall of Fame inducted recordings including De La Soul’s 3 Feet High And Rising, Guns’N’Roses Appetite For Destruction, the Buena Vista Social Club’s debut, Wanda Jackson’s “Let’s Have A Party,” Kid Ory’s Creole Orchestra’s “Ory’s Creole Trombone” and The Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes.”  

As we look ahead, the excitement for future Galas grows, with each event promising to honor more historic recordings, and uphold the tradition of celebrating excellence in music's rich legacy.

Explore The 2024 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inducted Recordings: Lauryn Hill, Guns N' Roses, De La Soul, Donna Summer & Many More

Explore The 2024 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inductees

Kane Brown performing in 2023
Kane Brown performing at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.

Photo: Denise Truscello/Getty Images for iHeartRadio


A Brief History Of Black Country Music: 11 Important Tracks From DeFord Bailey, Kane Brown & More

While the world anticipates the arrival of Beyoncé's 'Act II: COWBOY CARTER' on March 29, revisit these 11 songs by influential Black country musicians throughout history, from a Charley Pride classic to a Mickey Guyton statement piece.

GRAMMYs/Mar 22, 2024 - 10:24 pm

In February, Beyoncé added to her record-breaking legacy by becoming the first Black woman to top Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart with her single "TEXAS HOLD 'EM."

"I feel honored," she shared on Instagram in a countdown post to her RENAISSANCE sequel, Act II: COWBOY CARTER, out March 29. "My hope is that years from now, the mention of an artist's race, as it relates to releasing genres of music, will be irrelevant."

Since she first dabbled in country music with "Daddy Lessons" in 2016, the icon has received consistent backlash about whether she belongs in the genre. That same year, audiences campaigned for a boycott against the Country Music Awards for her performance of the track alongside The Chicks, later resulting in its erasure from promotional advertisements. And eight years later, the conversation returns as radio listeners question if her music should air on country stations.

Ironically, if you look back through music history, you will quickly discover that Beyoncé isn't the first (and certainly not the last) Black musician doing country music. 

In fact, the genre plants its sonic roots in negro spirituals and field songs, written on slave plantations. African American Vernacular English continues to influence contemporary chart-topper's lyricism and vocal twang. The banjo, which descends from the West African akonting lute, remains one of the quintessential instruments of the genre. Whether Beyoncé or the many artists who came before her, nothing sits at the heart of country music more than Black art.

To understand the full scope of Black creatives' impact in country, examines some of the influential tracks and moments of those who have made their mark on the genre and the music industry — from DeFord Bailey's Grand Ole Opry debut in 1927, to Darius Rucker's post-Hootie & The Blowfish country foray in 2008, to Breland's 2021 fusion of country and hip-hop.

DeFord Bailey — "Pan American Blues" (1927)

Before there was Mickey Guyton, Darius Rucker, or even Charley Pride, there was DeFord Bailey, the "harmonica wizard" from Tennessee.

After performing locally, another musician introduced Bailey to Nashville powerhouse radio station WSM's manager, George D. Hay, who later invited him to join the Grand Ole Opry — making Bailey the first Black member. He quickly rose to become one of the program's highest-paid players at the time, largely thanks to his iconic instrumental tune, "Pan American Blues," which imitated the sounds he heard from the railroad during his childhood.

As of press time, the only other Black inductees in the Grand Ole Opry are Rucker and Pride.

Lead Belly — "In The Pines" (1944)

"My girl, my girl, don't lie to me/ Tell me, where did you sleep last night?/ In the pines, in the pines/ Whether the sun don't ever shine/ I would shiver the whole night through," Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter questions in the Appalachian folk song, "In the Pines."

Though Lead Belly isn't the original writer of the song, his chilling vibrato on the recording inspired singers for years to come, including Kurt Cobain, who later covered the track in Nirvana's 1993 MTV Unplugged performance under the title "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" and named the '40s country blues legend his "favorite performer."

Linda Martell — "Color Him Father" (1969)

In "Color Him Father," Linda Martell narrates the heartfelt tale of a stepdad who embraces his new paternal role to a widowed mother and her seven children. It's also the song that propelled her to stardom, landing her a historic performance as the first Black woman on the Grand Ole Opry stage and later opening the door for debut album, Color Me Country.

After the project was released, Martell stepped away from the limelight, but her impact lived on. She was the inspiration for contemporary luminaries like Mickey Guyton: "The fact that she was there was groundbreaking ... She gave me the courage to be here," Guyton told Rolling Stone in 2020.

Charley Pride — "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" (1971)

Through his nearly seven decades-spanning career, Charley Pride became a certified hitmaker and one of the most renowned pioneers of his time. By 1987, he amassed more than 50 Top 10 hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, with 30 peaking at No. 1 — including his most notable single, "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'."

After Pride passed away from COVID-19 complications in 2020, the response to his death highlighted the magnitude of his legacy, receiving condolences from Dolly Parton, Billy Ray Cyrus, and perhaps the most personal from Darius Rucker.

"I couldn't have done what I do, I don't think, if there hadn't been Charley before me," Rucker said in an essay for Billboard. Pride served not only as an icon but also as a mentor to Rucker, and his kindness ultimately gave Rucker the courage to do the same for the next generation.

Cleve Francis — "You Do My Heart Good" (1992)

As a cardiologist and songwriter, Dr. Cleve Francis certainly knew a "good heart."

In his 1992 track, "You Do My Heart Good," Francis sings about a budding love that shows him how to see life in a beautiful light. The song eventually became the second single from his Liberty Records debut LP, Tourist in Paradise.

Francis later founded the now-defunct Black Country Music Association in 1995 to foster an inclusive environment in the Nashville music scene and provide resources to aspiring singers. Under his advisory, the BCMA, with the help of Warner Bros., produced From Where I Stand, a record book of Black artists' contributions to the genre.

Darius Rucker — "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" (2008)

Before 2008, many knew Darius Rucker better as Hootie, thanks to his remarkable '90s run as frontman of jangle pop band Hootie & the Blowfish. But with his second album as a solo act, 2008's Learn to Live, the world met Darius Rucker, the country artist.

Fittingly, he chose a heartbreaking ballad for his first country single — "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," a heartbreaking ballad about a man who wonders what could have been in a previous relationship. The choice resonated with country listeners:  "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, making Rucker the first Black country artist to have a chart-topper since Pride in 1983. 

Kane Brown — "Heaven" (2017)

Since his major label debut, Brown has possessed a unique boy-next-door charm, less "Western" than his peers. "Not laced up in a tight belt and buckle hat," but proof that "you can be who you want to be, and you can still listen to country music," his manager, Martha Earls, told Variety in 2018.

Take "Heaven," a romantic ballad with the Southern drawl and instrumentation of a classic country tune. But when you add Brown's R&B influence and natural swagger, the track invites audiences both in and outside of country.

Though Brown now has 12 No. 1 songs on the Country Airplay chart, "Heaven" is undoubtedly the country star's biggest song to date thanks to its crossover qualities and romantic resonance. And just last year, "Heaven" became only the seventh country artist in history to receive a diamond certification from the RIAA; Brown is the second Black country artist to achieve the feat, as Rucker's anthemic cover of "Wagon Wheel" reached diamond status in 2022.

Mickey Guyton — "Black Like Me" (2020)

In a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, Mickey Guyton recalled that she wrote "Black Like Me" at a writer's retreat in 2019, thinking, "There is no way that anybody is going to accept this." But at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests after the murder of George Floyd in 2020, there was no doubt that it was what the industry, especially the country genre, needed to hear.

"It's a hard life on easy street/ Just white painted picket fences far as you can see/ If you think we live in the land of the free/ You should try to be Black like me," she croons on the chorus.

The single made Guyton the first-ever Black woman nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at the 2021 GRAMMYs, and also helped her earn nominations for New Female Artist Of The Year and New Artist Of The Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Country Music Association Awards, respectively, in 2021..

Guyton continues to use her voice for advocacy, from speaking out on racial issues to chronicling the Black experience on her 2021 album, Remember Her Name

Breland — "Throw It Back" (2021)

Since making his debut with "My Truck" in 2019, Breland has been praised for his innovative fusion of country, gospel, hip-hop, and R&B. But beyond his sonic landscape, he's also inviting some unlikely choreography into the genre: twerking.

"If she got a shot of whiskey, she know how to throw it back/ She turn up for Elvis Presley, told the DJ, 'Throw it back,'" Breland cheers in the chorus of the trap-infused track.  "If you sexy and you know it, make it clap."

"Throw It Back" features Keith Urban, whoappreciates Breland for his confidence to go beyond the mold of country music's expectations. "He's one of the only artists I've ever met that does not care at all what something sounds like or what box it fits. If he likes it, if it catches his ear, he wants to be a part of it in some way," Urban explained to Taste of Country in 2021.

The War and Treaty — "Blank Page" (2022)

The War and Treaty are making the most of their "Blank Page."

The husband-and-wife pair — Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter — began their musical journey together in 2016.  Seven years later, thanks to their first major label EP, 2022's Blank Page, they also started making history. The War and Treaty became the first Black duo to receive a nomination for Duo Of The Year at the 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards, where they also delivered a stirring performance of the EP's title track, a heartfelt song about a new slate in love. 

Six months later, they made history again as the first Black pair nominated for Duo Of The Year at the 2023 Country Music Association Awards; they took the stage there as well, performing"That's How Love Is Made" from their 2023 album, Lover's Game

They added to their growing legacy at the 2024 GRAMMYs as well,  receiving their first GRAMMY nominations. "Blank Page" earned the duo a nod for Best American Roots Song, and they also were up for the coveted Best New Artist.

Tanner Adell — "Buckle Bunny" (2023)

When Beyoncé dropped "TEXAS HOLD 'EM" and "16 CARRIAGES" in February, country newcomer Tanner Adell readily tossed her cowgirl hat into the ring to become Queen Bey's next collaborator. "I hope Bey decides to sprinkle me with a dash of her magic," she pitched in a tweet that has now garnered more than four million views.

Adell's music is reminiscent of Beyoncé's own empowered narratives, particularly the 2023 single "Buckle Bunny," which even declares that she's "Lookin' like Beyoncé with a lasso." Like Breland, Adell brings a hip-hop flair to country music, exemplified by the thumping beats and rap-inspired singing of "Buckle Bunny."

As artists like Adell, Breland, Kane Brown, and more continue to push the boundaries of the country genre, they'll also remind listeners of its rich lineage in Black culture — past, present, and future.

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The Recording Academy revealed the 2024 inducted recordings to the distinguished GRAMMY Hall Of Fame on its 50th anniversary. Graphic shows all of the 10 recordings newly inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame.
The GRAMMY Museum's inaugural GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Gala and concert presented by City National Bank on May 21, 2024 at the NOVO Theater in Los Angeles.

Image courtesy of the GRAMMY Museum


GRAMMY Hall Of Fame 2024 Inductees Announced: Recordings By Lauryn Hill, Guns N' Roses, Donna Summer, De La Soul & More

The GRAMMY Museum's inaugural GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Gala and concert, presented by City National Bank, takes place Tuesday, May 21, at the NOVO Theater in Los Angeles.

GRAMMYs/Mar 20, 2024 - 11:59 am

The Recording Academy has announced 10 recordings to be newly inducted to the distinguished GRAMMY Hall Of Fame as part of its 2024 inductee class and in celebration of its 50th anniversary this year. This year's GRAMMY Hall of Fame additions, the first inductions since 2021, include four albums and six singles that exhibit qualitative or historical significance and are at least 25 years old. The inducted recordings, which will be added to the iconic catalog residing at the GRAMMY Museum, will be honored at GRAMMY Museum's inaugural GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Gala and concert, presented by City National Bank, taking place Tuesday, May 21, at the NOVO Theater in Los Angeles. Tickets for and performers at the Gala will be announced at a later date. 

The 2024 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame inducted recordings range from Lauryn Hill's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill to Guns N' Roses' Appetite For Destruction. Others include recordings by De La Soul, Buena Vista Social Club, Donna Summer, Charley Pride, Wanda Jackson, Kid Ory's Creole Orchestra, the Doobie Brothers, and William Bell. Eligible recipients will receive an official certificate from the Recording Academy. With these 10 newly inducted titles, the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame currently totals 1,152 inducted recordings.

See below for a full list of the 2024 recordings inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame, and see the full list of all past GRAMMY Hall Of Fame inducted recordings.

Full list of 2024 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inducted Recordings:

De La Soul
Tommy Boy (1989)
Inducted: 2024

Guns N' Roses
Geffen (1987)
Inducted: 2024

Buena Vista Social Club
World Circuit/Nonesuch (1997)
Inducted: 2024

Donna Summer
Casablanca (1977)
Inducted: 2024

Charley Pride
RCA Victor (1971)
Inducted: 2024

Wanda Jackson
Capitol (1960)
Inducted: 2024

Lauryn Hill
Ruffhouse/Columbia (1998)
Inducted: 2024

Kid Ory's Creole Orchestra (As Spike's Seven Pods of Pepper Orchestra)
Nordskog (1922)

The Doobie Brothers
Warner Bros. (1978)
Inducted: 2024

William Bell
Stax (1961)
Inducted: 2024

Explore The 2024 GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Inductees

"We're proud to unveil the diverse mix of recordings entering the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in its 50th year," Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr. said in a statement. "The music showcased here has played a pivotal role in shaping our cultural landscape, and it's a true honor to recognize these albums and recordings, along with the profound influence each has had on music and beyond."

"The artists, songwriters, producers, and engineers who composed this year's inducted recordings are a reflection of the sheer talent and hard work that goes into creating such seminal music," GRAMMY Museum President/CEO Michael Sticka said in a statement. "It's a privilege to be able to welcome these new additions into our distinguished catalog and celebrate the recordings at our inaugural gala on May 21."

The GRAMMY Hall Of Fame was established by the Recording Academy's National Trustees in 1973. The inducted recordings are selected annually by a special member committee of eminent and knowledgeable professionals from all branches of the recording arts with final ratification by the Recording Academy's National Board of Trustees.

This year, the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame Gala will be the first of what will become an annual event and includes a red carpet and VIP reception on the newly opened Ray Charles Terrace at the GRAMMY Museum, followed by a one-of-a-kind concert at the NOVO Theater in downtown Los Angeles. 

The inaugural gala and concert is produced by longtime executive producer of the GRAMMY Awards, Ken Ehrlich, along with Chantel Sausedo and Ron Basile and will feature musical direction by globally renowned producer and keyboardist Greg Phillinganes. For sponsorship opportunities, reach out to

Explore the history of the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame

Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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