In his first Hot 100 entry, country singer Charley Pride offers advice for a happy marriage:
You've got to kiss an angel good morning
and let her know you think about her when you're gone
Kiss an angel good morning
and love her like the devil when you get back home
But the song was inspired by fatherly love rather than marital bliss. Ben Peters, who wrote dozens of tunes for Pride, many of them chart-topping country hits, had just welcomed a baby girl named Angela. When his wife reminded him to kiss the baby before he left 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 word on whether he wanted to record a song. Although he didn't anticipate it becoming a big hit, Pride didn't hesitate over "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'," telling Songfacts
, "I couldn't wait to get into the studio."
This was Pride's eighth #1 Country hit. It also peaked at #7 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
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 in becoming a crossover hit: "'Kiss An Angel' is a clear example of a record that was not recorded to be a crossover record, and all that sort of hocus-pocus, and it became a million-seller. And it's a typical example of where we are today, flailin' about who's country and who's middle-of-the-road. You know, people at radio stations say, 'Well, Charley's good, but he's country, so we'll have to penalize him for bein' traditional.' I knew a guy who had a lot of radio stations, and he told me just before 'Kiss An Angel' came out, 'As long as you have steel guitars on your records, I'm not gonna play 'em.'
And then 'Kiss An Angel' came out and went to the Top 20 in pop, because a lot of MOR people and pop people decided to play it, and a million people went out and bought it. So there is a lot of so-called experts out there tryin' to put a format together about who's middle-of-the-road, and who's country, and who's contemporary. But all those kinds of music have been borrowin' from each other for so long that I think it's time to stop punishing one another from the standpoint of air play."
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 his Heart Songs album, but not specifically for "Kiss An Angel." His performance on that tune was nominated at the 1972 ceremony, but lost to Jerry Reed for "When You're Hot, You're Hot."
Pride performed 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 – all in 1972. Alan Jackson also covered it for his 1999 album, Under the Influence. In 2013, Neal McCoy and Darius Rucker sang it on the tribute album Pride.
Pride sang this with Jimmie Allen at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville on November 11, 2020, where he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. It was his last performance; the 86-year-old Pride came down with coronavirus a short time later and passed away on December 12.