Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Dec 13, 2020 Letter to Rolling Stone on Charlie Pride Article

 Sun, Dec 13 at 2:51 PM

Rolling Stone
475 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10017

RE: Charlie Pride on Grand Ole Opry

Dear Rolling Stone,

Thank you for Joseph Hudak's wonderful story on Charley Pride in your pages.  I believe there should be a correction, though.
Bobby Hebb, composer/singer of the mega hit "Sunny" played the Grand Ole Opry after DeFord Bailey but long before Charlie Pride,
according to a source at the Country Music Hall of Fame . org   

Mr. Hudak writes this: "...and was the first African-American performer to appear on the Grand Ole Opry stage since Deford Bailey made his debut in the 1920s. Pride became an Opry member in 1993. In 2000, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame."

There are a couple of photos of Bobby and Charlie together backstage at Opry in 2004, prior to Bobby's passing on August 3, 2010
from the same source at the Country Music Hall of Fame..

A Tumblr account, Roots Rock Weirdo, writes this:

WSM executive Jim Denny reportedly pointed Bobby (Hebb) in Owen Bradley’s direction, and he began performing with Bradley’s orchestra. Roy Acuff soon caught Bobby in action and invited him to sing, dance and play the spoons as a member of the Smokey Mountain Boys.

Music journalist Bill Dahl writes, “It was all but unheard of for a country star to spotlight an African-American in a featured musical role. Harmonica specialist DeFord Bailey had been a member of the Opry from 1927 to 1941, but he was ancient history by the time Bobby came under Roy’s protective wing. Hebb toured the South as part of Acuff’s troupe, the hillbilly star ensuring that the youngster was treated with respect. Bobby even stayed in the same hotel room as Roy and his wife and son.”


Joe Viglione  
Producer, SUNNY: THE BOBBY HEBB STORY (boxed set, in production)

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