The Charley Pride statue was unveiled on the Ryman Auditorium’s Icon Walk yesterday (April 13), with Pride’s beloved wife of over 60 years Rozene and son Dion Pride on hand for the special day.
The bronze likeness was added to the permanent outdoor exhibition on the venue grounds and was created by artist Ben Watts, the talent behind the existing three statues. Visitors can find Pride standing at the northwest corner of the building near the driveway on Fifth Avenue next to the statues of Loretta Lynn and Bill Monroe. A likeness of Little Jimmy Dickens stands atop the Ryman’s main steps facing Fourth Avenue as well.
“Charley Pride broke barriers and defied stereotypes, becoming one of the most successful and beloved country music artists of all time,” said Colin Reed, Ryman Hospitality Properties Executive Chairman, at the unveiling. “The Ryman Icon Walk honors not only his contributions and the groundwork he laid for countless other artists in country music, but also to the Ryman, where he performed many times throughout his career. Charley’s influence will always be felt throughout the entire Nashville community, and his addition to the Ryman Icon Walk is our way of paying tribute to his incredible talent and enduring legacy.”
“He has often been called the Jackie Robinson of country music,” Rozene shared with the crowd. “The only difference was Jackie Robinson was picked for the role. Pride picked country music because he loved it and that was his life.”
“He loved his fans – in fact, his fans drove him,” added Dion. “All of you drove him. You are the reason why he was the success he was. Everything he did was for you.”