Richard Charles Kneller was born in Thornton Heath, Surrey. After leaving school he tried a wide variety of jobs including stonemason’s assistant, spraypainter, electric plater, and lorry driver’s mate.
In his spare time he appeared in clubs and pubs around the Croydon area with his own group.
It was while singing in a pub that he was first seen by Larry Parnes, who decided to try him out before a large audience in a star-packed show at a London theatre. He was a tremendous success and his (soon to be well-known) “shake” technique brought the house down.
Parnes signed him up, changed his name to Dickie Pride, and sent him out on the road for his own concert appearances.
Dubbed “The Sheik of Shake” (because he trembled when he sang), Dickie Pride built up a solid reputation on radio, records and TV, having been a regular on the Oh Boy! television series.
In 1959 and 1961 he released the singles Slippin’ ‘n’ Slidin’ (March 1959), Fabulous Cure (June 1959), Betty Betty (Go Steady With Me) (January 1960) and Bye Bye Blackbird (April 1960).
His sole album, Pride Without Prejudice, was released in 1961.
Pride was placed on probation for three years in 1959 for attempted shop breaking and driving away a car without consent.