In 1975, country music was transitioning, as one blogger aptly described, from “the old Nashville style of slicked back hair, rhinestone suits, and songs about trains, trucks, and cheating” to a new style “characterized by shaggy hair, bell-bottom jeans, and songs about sunshine, love, and peaceful easy feelings.”
Right in the middle of the transition chaos was country/folk music superstar John Denver. John’s folksy, down-to-earth style was sharply juxtaposed against the likes of reigning country music royalty like Charlie Pride.
Denver was wildly successful on the country music charts, achieving several platinum album—a feat unattained by other country music artists of the day. He was also able to successful crossover to top the charts of pop music, as well. It’s no wonder that there was a great deal of jealousy and animosity toward Denver and his new style of country music. Many in the ranks believed that he was unworthy of such success in Nashville and beyond.
When it came time for the 1975 Country Music Awards, Charlie Pride was asked to present the award for Entertainer of the Year (an award he himself had won just the year prior). Upon opening the envelope and seeing the name John Denver inside, Pride promptly proceeded to pull out a cigarette lighter and send the results up in flames. Facetiously, he announced, “The winner is my friend Mr. John Denver.”
Though many country artists agreed with Pride’s position, many fans did not. Pride’s record sales began to falter, generating only one top ten hit the following year. He would go on to have other top ten hits here and there, but his career was never the same.
Click the link to source above to view a video clip of the award presentation.
Wow. Is this where we get the saying, “Pride comes before a fall?” No, actually, that would come from Scripture—“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
In this case it was a pride which gave birth to envy.
Webster's Dictionary defines “envy” as “painful or resentful awareness of the advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage,” while The Oxford English Dictionary, in one of its definitions, takes it a step further saying, “the feeling of mortification and ill-will occasioned by the contemplation of superior advantages possessed by another.”
Don’t allow your good will toward another’s success to go up in flames.
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).