• Honored by the Recording Academy in 2017 with its Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Three-time Grammy Award winner, including “Best Male Country Vocal
    Performance” in 1972.
  • Three-time CMA winner, including “Entertainer of the Year” in 1971
  • Received the ACM “Pioneer Award” in 1994
  • Winner of three American Music Awards
  • Ranked 18th on CMT’s 40 Greatest Men in Country Music
  • Recipient of the “Living Legend” award by TNN / Music City News
  • Trumpet Award for “Outstanding African-American Achievement” in 1996
  • Cashbox award for “Top Male Country Artist of the Decade” for the 1970’s


  • Recorded at least 43 No. 1 Country hits, along with multiple Platinum and Gold certified albums
  • Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000
  • Inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1993
  • Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999
  • Served in the United States Army during the 1950s
  • Country Music’s first black superstar
  • Presented President Jimmy Carter with a special award for his support of country music, alongside Willie Nelson
  • From 1952 through 1958, played baseball for Negro American League teams including the Louisville Clippers, Birmingham Black Barons and Memphis Red Sox.
  • Pitched, as a Negro American League All-Star player in 1956, against a group of major league players that included Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Al Smith, Gene Baker and Ernie Banks.  Also played in games with Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Monte Irvin, Elston Howard, Willie Kirkland and George Altman over the course of his baseball career.
  • Performed for President Barack Obama and guests in the historic East Room of the White House in 2009 as part of a concert and educational workshop event that also featured Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss
  • Became one of the owners of the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball team in 2010