NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) â€” Charley Pride, whose first three singles were released without a photograph in order to conceal his race, has become the first black to be voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
``In our culture we're just ate up with what I call skin hang-ups,'' the 62-year-old singer said Friday. ``I'm glad I'm in the Hall of Fame. I'm glad I'm right next to people that I love â€” Ernest Tubb, Marty Robbins, the whole bit. I don't care if they're pink''
Faron Young, a honky-tonk singing great, will also be inducted during the Country Music Association Awards on Oct. 4. He shot himself to death in 1996.
The two singers will become the 73rd and 74th members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame members are selected by about 350 members of the Country Music Association with more than 10 years of experience in the industry.
Pride was born in Sledge, Miss., the son of a cotton sharecropper. He played baseball in the Negro American League, served in the Army and unsuccessfully tried out for the California Angels before starting a music career.
Signed by legendary producer Chet Atkins to RCA Records in 1965, Pride's hit single ``Just Between You and Me'' in 1967 started a string of hits stretching into the late 1980s.
Young, a native of Shreveport, La., had a long list of hits from 1953 to the late 1970s. His first hit was ``Goin' Steady.''