Kentucky and Smokey Mountain Rain: Elvis & Ronnie Milsap


“KENTUCKY RAIN”   Elvis Presley

Elvis Kentucky RainLife is funny.   In 1970, Elvis Presley was recording “Kentucky Rain” written by up and coming songwriter, Eddie Rabbitt, and his producer needed a pianist for the song.   Working as a session musician at the time, Ronnie Milsap was asked to played piano on Elvis’ big #1 hit song.   The lyrics about a rainstorm and a man searching for his lost love touched the hearts of so many of Elvis’ fans.   “Seven lonely days and a dozen towns ago, I reached out one night and you were gone”.   So off he went to find her, “Showed your photograph to some old grey bearded man sitting on a bench outside a gen’ral store, They said “Yes, she’s been here, but their memory wasn’t clear.”   The emotional record launched a resurgence in Elvis Presley’s career in country music.

Ronnie MilsapTen years later, Elvis has passed on and Ronnie Milsap was now a multi-platinum artist with 15 #1 hits of his own.  Inspired by the memory of “Kentucky Rain”, Ronnie wrote a new song about his memories growing up down South in the mountains.   Originally written as “Appalachian Rain”, Ronnie felt those lyrics didn’t sound right and changed the title to “Smokey Mountain Rain”.    This time, the man felt guilty for abandoning his girlfriend and was coming back home to find her.  “I thumbed my way from LA back to Knoxville, I found out those bright lights aint where I belong.  From a phone booth in the rain I called to tell her I’ve had a change of dreams, I’m comin’ home, But tears filled my eyes when I found out she was gone.”   But nothing was stopping this love affair as he was determined to find her once again.   It became Ronnie Milsap’s 16th #1 hit and for many fans, Ronnie’s greatest song ever.