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5 Black Country Singers Who Have Made History, Yes, Beyoncé’s in The Mix!

5 Black Country Singers Who Have Made History, Yes, Beyoncé's in The Mix!
Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Beyoncé hit a major milestone with her 2024 country single “Texas Hold ‘Em,” becoming the first Black woman to top the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. This achievement is significant not only for Beyoncé but also for Black country singers, as it highlights her successful crossover into the genre. Her remarkable feat adds to her legacy as the most awarded artist in Grammy history.

At 42, the pop and R&B superstar surprised fans during the Super Bowl on February 11 by announcing in a Verizon commercial that she would be releasing new music. Since then, Beyoncé has teased her upcoming album, set for release on March 29 and known as Act II, featuring country-infused singles such as “16 Carriages” and “Texas Hold ‘Em.”


Beyoncé’s success as a Black country music singer is part of a rich history of influential Black country singers who have made significant contributions to the genre. Here are five Black country singers who have made their mark:

5 Black Country Singers Who Have Made History

Charley Pride

First Black Country Music Hall of Fame Inductee

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA

Charley Pride, celebrated as the first Black country superstar, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He remains one of only three Black country singers to receive this honor, alongside DeFord Bailey and Ray Charles. Born in March 1934, Pride transitioned from a career in the Negro American League to country music, achieving considerable success. He was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1971 and amassed 29 No. 1 country hits before his passing in 2020.

Tracy Chapman

First Black Songwriter to Win CMA Song of the Year

Trisha Leeper/WireImage

Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit “Fast Car” reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned her a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 2023, Luke Combs’ cover of “Fast Car” won the CMA Award for Song of the Year, making Chapman the first Black songwriter to win in this category. Chapman’s influence as a Black country singer was further highlighted when she performed a surprise duet with Combs at the 2024 Grammys, where he was also nominated for Best Country Solo Performance.


Darius Rucker

First Black Solo Artist with a Diamond-Certified Country Song

Photo: David McClister

Darius Rucker, known for his role as the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, began a successful solo career in country music in the late 2000s. His 2013 hit “Wagon Wheel,” originally by Old Crow Medicine Show, achieved Diamond certification in October 2022, making Rucker the first Black solo artist to receive this certification for a country song. “Wagon Wheel” joins other Diamond-certified hits such as “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line, “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton, and the remixed “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.

DeFord Bailey

First Grand Ole Opry Performer

DeFord Bailey playing guitar on the balcony of his Nashville apartment, c. late 1970s. Courtesy of David C. Morton.

The Grand Ole Opry, initially called the WSM Barn Dance, became officially known as the Grand Ole Opry on December 10, 1927. DeFord Bailey, one of the earliest Black country music singers, was the first performer to take the stage that night. Born in December 1899, Bailey overcame polio at age three and gained recognition for his harmonica skills, earning the nickname “Harmonica Wizard.” Despite leaving the music industry in 1941 due to a song licensing dispute, Bailey’s legacy endures.

Beyoncé

First Black Woman with a No. 1 Country Song

Kevin Mazur/ Getty Images

With her 2024 release “Texas Hold ‘Em,” Beyoncé became the first Black woman to top the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. This landmark achievement underscores her exceptional talent and places her among a select group of artists who have reached No. 1 on both the Hot Country Songs and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, including Justin Bieber, Morgan Wallen, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Ray Charles.

>>READ ALSO: 10 Black Country Singers You Should Listen To

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