I don’t like country music! You hear it all the time. If your exposure to country music is limited to today’s Bro-Country movement or the old banjo-driven Hee Haw era of Bluegrass, you may have been misled. It doesn’t help when country artists release songs with corny titles like “If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me”. But there is SO much more to country music. Today’s spotlight is one of the genre’s classic superstars that may change your thinking. Ronnie Milsap tore down the boundaries of country music. One of the first major country crossover artists, Milsap injected Gospel, R&B, Rock and Roll, Blue-Eyed Soul, and Pop into many of his biggest hits. Inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2014, Milsap ranks #3 all-time with 40 songs that reached #1 on the charts. He got his start playing piano for Elvis on songs like “Don’t Cry Daddy” and “Kentucky Rain” and scored his first #1, “It Was Almost Like A Song” in 1976. Ronnie Milsap has influenced two generations of country artists and even reached the Top 10 this year again with his contribution to the all-star collaboration “Forever Country”.
Honorable Mention: “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World” Released during the height of the Urban Cowboy movie mania, you just can’t deny a killer chorus and an infectious melody.
10. “He Got You” A #1 smash from 1980 that crossed over to the Adult Contemporary Charts.
9. “What A Difference You Made In My Life” Pure 100% sentimentality and who wouldn’t croon if someone sang this one to you.
8. “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine” This heartbreaking duet with Kenny Rogers is more Pop/R&B than Country.
7. “Any Day Now” Life comes full circle when Ronnie records a song made famous by Elvis.
6. “Stranger In My House” Yes, that’s a legitimate rock guitar solo at the end of this incredible song from 1983. It was his last major pop hit.
5. “Let’s Take The Long Way Around The World” This one feels like a lost Barry Manilow masterpiece from the 70s. The twinkling of the piano keys in the intro building up to a full crescendo on the chorus.
4. “No Gettin’ Over Me” For many fans this is the biggest songs of Ronnie’s career. An international smash from 1981 that reminds us of the best of James Taylor. Love the saxophone solo midway!
3. “Lost In The Fifties Tonight” Marty McFly may have taken us “Back To the Future” but Ronnie did his part reminding us of simpler times with this re-write of “In The Still Of The Night”.
2. “Smoky Mountain Rain” Take your pick between 1 and 2 for the greatest Ronnie Milsap of all-time. Rolling Stone Magazine ranks this one on their list of the 100 Greatest Country Music Songs of All-Time.