African-American singer Pride, who was 86, died from Covid-19-related complications in Dallas, Texas at the weekend.
On RTÉ One’s Today Show, Daniel O’Donnell and his wife Majella reflected on Pride’s life and work.
“[It’s] Just hard to believe that Charley Pride has left us,” Daniel O’Donnell told hosts Sinéad Kennedy and Dáithí Ó Sé. “I was so, so sad – and I am so sad – to think that he’s gone.”
Charley Pride and Daniel O’Donnell on the Late Late Show Country Music Special in April 2017
“I loved him singing,” O’Donnell continued. “I loved himself as well when I got to know him. That picture [onscreen] was taken in 1989. He came over for the first TV show that I did. I first met him in 1988 in Nashville, and then they asked him to come for the show, and he’s been on countless TV shows that I have presented. At different times we’ve met on the same bill of shows in America and festivals.
“He was a great person. His stardom never affected him. I loved him, both as a person and as a singer. Just incredible for me to be able to have had the friendship with him and the connection with him that I had. From being a fan to getting to know him was just unbelievable.”
“Daniel said to me that no matter what Daniel asked of him – you know, shows or even appearances like the [TV series] Daniel Sa Bhaile – no matter what they asked of him, he was always obliging,” recounted Majella O’Donnell. “He never said no.”
“It was a shock to hear because he was so well,” Daniel O’Donnell added. “I had just looked at the clip of him at the Country Music Awards [in the US in November] and he looked so well and he sang well.
“I know he was thrilled to get the award [the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award], I’ve been speaking to his manager since. He was absolutely thrilled to get that award.
“So, I suppose to be able to have a career that lasted so long and to be able to… The last thing that he did professionally was to be honoured – I suppose it’s a great way to end a career.
“But it’s so sad, and we’re thinking about [wife] Rozene and his family. It’s a terrible time for them.”
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