“Kiss an Angel Good Morning ‘”, a song written by Ben Peters, was recorded by Charley Pride for the RCA label on July 28, 1971, at RCA Victor Studio, 800 17th Ave. South, Nashville, TN. In the same session, “Tennessee Girl” and “He’s helping me get over you” were also recorded. At the recording session Charley was accompanied by: Billy Grammer (guitar), Chip Young (guitar), Allen Reynolds (guitar), Jack Clement (guitar), Gene O ‘Neal (Steel), Joe Allen (bass), Jerry Carrigan (drums), Tommy Williams (fiddle), Buddy Spicher (fiddle), Hargus Robbins (piano) and Chuck Cochran (organ). The song was released, on October 23, with the production of Jack Clement. On December 4, 1971, it reached # 1 on the US Hot Country Songs charts for five consecutive weeks, and remained a total of 19 weeks on the charts. On the Canadian RPM Country Tracks charts, it also reached # 1, on December 18, 1971, for two consecutive weeks. The song was her biggest hit, selling more than a million copies. It was the eighth number one in Charley Pride’s career.
The song was included in the thirteenth studio album, Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs (RCA 1971), the album was released in October 1971, reaching number # 1 on January 1, 1972, remaining in the charts a total of 36 weeks. The album was certified gold in the USA.
About the song:
The song was inspired by parental love rather than marital happiness. Ben Peters, who wrote dozens of tunes for Pride, many of them chart-topping country hits, had just welcomed a girl named Angela. When his wife reminded him to kiss the baby before leaving for work, the idea for a song was born.
Pride’s producer Jack Clement selected most of his material, but Pride generally had the final say on whether he wanted to record a song. Although he didn’t anticipate it would become a big hit, Pride didn’t hesitate on “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin ‘”, telling Songfacts, “I couldn’t wait to get into the studio.”
This was Pride’s eighth number one country hit. It also peaked at number 7 on the Contemporary Adult List.
In a 2002 interview with Alanna Nash (Behind Closed Doors: Talking With The Legends of Country Music), Pride explained how the song beat the odds of becoming a crossover hit: “’Kiss An Angel’ is a clear example of a record. Which was not recorded as a crossover record, and all that kind of gimmick, and it turned into a million sales. And it’s a prime example of where we are today, waving about who the country is and who is in the middle of the road. Radio station folks say, ‘Well, Charley is good, but it’s a country, so we’ll have to penalize him for being’ traditional. ‘I met a guy who had a lot of radio stations, and he told me right before he came out ‘Kiss An Angel’: ‘As long as you have steel guitars on your records, I won’t play them.’
And then ‘Kiss An Angel’ came out and it went to the Top 20 in pop, because a lot of MORe people and pop people decided to play it, and a million people came out and bought it. So there are many so-called experts trying to put together a format about who is in the middle of the road, who is the country, and who is contemporary. But all those kinds of music have been borrowing from each other for so long that I think it’s time to stop punishing each other from an aerial game point of view. “
This won the Grammy for Best Country Song at the 1973 ceremony. Pride also took home the award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male for their album Heart Songs, but not specifically for “Kiss An Angel” Her performance on that song was nominated at the 1972 ceremony, but she lost to Jerry Reed for “When you’re hot, you’re hot “.
Pride did this at the 2017 Grammy Awards after being honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Several artists recorded this right after it became a hit, including George Jones, Conway Twitty, Gene Stuart, and Roy Clark.
Tommy Overstreet 1972 (Dot Records)
Conway Twitty 1972 (MCA)
Carl Smith 1972 (Columbia)
Jan Howard 1972 (Decca)
George Jones 1972 (Epic)
Tom Jones 1972 (Decca)
Roy Clark 1972 (Dot Records)
Jeannie C. Riley 1973 (MGM)
Buck Owens & The Buckaroos 1974 (Capitol)
Miquel Batlle Garriga