A very special birthday
surprise from my Beautiful Bride
Want to be more productive? Start making your bed every
day. Studies have found that less than 40% of people do, but
there’s a strong correlation between making one’s bed every day
and higher productivity throughout the day.
In the 10/11/16 issue of this
newsletter, I mentioned the musical history of a Nashville house
we’re closing on next week.
But I didn’t tell you the
whole story, and it needs to be told.
The house was built
by songwriter Ben Peters. He penned fourteen #1 hits, but one in
particular helped change the world. It was the 1971 song “Kiss
an Angel Good Morning”, which was Charlie Pride’s biggest hit.
Nearly every country music lover has heard at least a
one of Charlie’s 29 Number One hits, but few know the incredible
prejudice he had to overcome to succeed.
poverty in Mississippi during the Great Depression, he was one
of 11 children. He was a high school dropout, and baseball was
his way out. But African Americans were rare in the major
leagues in those days, so he signed with the Negro American
League. While playing for the Louisville Clippers, he and
another player were traded to the Birmingham Black Barons for a
He eventually landed in Helena, Montana, where
he worked at a lead smelting plant unloading coal from railroad
cars and shoveling it into a furnace. The job was so dangerous
that he was regularly burned and once even broke his ankle. But
it paid the bills and allowed him to play baseball at night with
a local team, which paid him $10 per game.
singing talent became evident, the team started paying him
another $10 to sing at each game.
In 1958, he visited Sun
Studio in Memphis, where he recorded several songs. When the
legendary Chet Atkins heard the tapes, he got Charlie signed to
When RCA released his first single in 1966, they
didn’t use publicity photos because they were afraid radio
stations in the south wouldn’t play it if they knew he was
African-American. George Swift, who was a DJ in Selma, AL at the
time, told me people cussed him out for playing Charlie’s songs
and told him “Black people don’t belong in country music!”
After the mega-success of “Kiss an Angel Good Morning”,
Charlie won the coveted CMA Entertainer of the Year Award in
1971, and Top Male Vocalist in 1971 and 1972.
away in 2005. But his writing, along with Charlie’s singing
talent, helped pave the way for Darius Rucker (formerly of
Hootie and the Blowfish) to cross over from pop to country music
The pen is mightier than the sword. And in this
case, it was even more powerful than prejudice.
got the last laugh – both in music and baseball. In 2003, he was
inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. And he’s now part
owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team.
To Your Success,
After visiting the Nashville
Songwriters Hall of Fame on my birthday last week and seeing a
picture of Ben in his writing room in our soon-to-be new home,
my beautiful bride blindfolded me and said “Now I have a very
special birthday present for you”. She drove us to the house and
presented me with a gold record of “Kiss an Angel Good Morning”,
which she found on eBay. When we move in, it will be the first
item that goes inside.
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