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Ronnie Milsap: Country Music Legend

Updated on September 19, 2014

Ronnie Milsap

Ronnie Milsap's talent has always been unquestioned. With 40 number one country singles, Milsap is a true country music legend. Despite being born blind in 1943, Ronnie Milsap went on to become one of country music's most popular artists in the 1970's and 1980's.

Public domain photo courtesy Singsnap

Childhood

Born in Robbinsville, NC, Ronnie Milsap was raised by his father and grandparents following his parents' divorce. He was born blind from congenital glaucoma, and at the age of five, he began attending the Governor Moorhead School for the Blind. His teachers soon noticed his amazing musical talents and he began to study classical music. A single year after he started learning the violin, Milsap was declared a virtuoso; he also mastered piano, guitar, and a variety of other stringed instruments, as well as sveral woodwinds. Eventually, he became interested in rock & roll and while still in school formed his first rock band, the Apparitions. He briefly attended college in Atlanta where he studied pre-law; though he was awarded a scholarship, Milsap decided to become a full-time musician instead. His first professional gig was as a member of J.J. Cale's band in the early '60s.

Early Career

In 1965, Milsap launched his own band and four years later, after having an R&B hit with "Never Had It So Good," moved to Memphis to become a session musician. There he often worked for Chips Moman and can be heard playing keyboards on Elvis' "Kentucky Rain" and singing harmony on "Don't Cry Daddy." In 1970, he had a pop hit with "Loving You Is a Natural Thing." Two years later, Milsap moved to Nashville in hopes of jump-starting his flagging career and became a client of Charley Pride's manager, Jack D. Johnson. Within a year, he signed to RCA Victor, where he would remain for the bulk of his career. "I Hate You," his first single for RCA, reached the country Top Ten in the summer of 1973. The following year, he had three number one hits in a row -- "Pure Love," "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends," and "(I'd Be) A Legend in My Time," a cover of Don Gibson's classic.

Career Peak

Milsap had a handful of Top Ten hits in 1975, but in late 1976 he became a genuine star, with a run of six number one hits in a row. That string of hits began a remarkable run where Milsap didn't leave the Top Ten for 15 straight years. During that time, he had a number of pop crossover hits, beginning with 1977's "It Was Almost Like a Song." Between 1980 and 1982, Milsap had ten more consecutive number one hits, including the crossover smashes "Smoky Mountain Rain," "No Gettin' Over Me," and "Any Day Now." Milsap had yet another string of uninterrupted number one hits between 1985 and 1987, racking up eight consecutive chart toppers. He had his last number one hit in 1989, when "A Woman in Love" spent two weeks on the top of the charts. In total, he has had 40 number one singles.

1990's and Later

In the early '90s, Milsap's commercial appeal began to decline, and after 1992, he wasn't able to break into the country Top Ten. Nevertheless, he continued to record. In 1992, he left RCA and signed to Liberty, where he recorded True Believer, which failed to yield any major hits. Despite his decline in popularity, Milsap continued to record and perform successfully throughout the '90s. Today, Ronnie Milsap continues to tour and perform, remaining a popular concert attraction and a major influence on the landscape of country music.

"(There's) No Gettin' Over Me" Video

"(There's) No Gettin' Over Me" Lyrics

#1 hit for Milsap (1981)

Well you can walk out on me tonight

If you think that it ain't feelin' right

But darlin'

There's ain't no gettin' over me

For the rest of the lyrics you can visit Milsap's official site here.

"Any Day Now" Video

"Any Day Now" Lyrics

#1 hit for Milsap (1982)

Any day now I will hear you say 'Goodbye, my love'

And you'll be on your way

Then my wild beautiful bird, you will have flown, woah

Any day now, I'll be all alone, whoa-oa-oa-oa-oa

For the rest of the lyrics you can visit Milsap's official site here.

Thumbnails courtesy Wikipedia, Wikimedia, and Creative Commons.

Are You a Ronnie Milsap Fan? - Let the world know by posting here!

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    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Always enjoyed Ronnie Milsap's music, it sure stood the test of time - still listen to it - enjoyed your page, and sharing :)

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      rocmaven 5 years ago

      Ronnie Milsap is performing 2 Valentines Day Weekend Concerts; Friday Feb 10, 2012 Secrest Auditorium Zanesville Ohio; Saturday Feb 11, 2012 Watseka Theatre Watseka Illinois. Theres no getting over Ronnie Milsap.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      I have not heard of him, yet I am a country music fan. I will check out on his music. Thanks for adding another country musician in my list.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 7 years ago

      Yes, big fan of Ronnie Milsap. It's been awhile since I've heard him. Thank for the memories. :)

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I'm a country music fan in general, but I do really like Ronnie Milsap. For a long time, I'd hear the voice and knew the songs so well, but I really didn't know anything about the man behind them and had no idea that he was blind (not that it matters) until I saw him on Country Music Television a few years ago. I haven't heard him played on the radio in quite some time, but every once in a while he'll pop up when a station is playing country "oldies."

    • Sami4u LM profile image

      Sami4u LM 8 years ago

      Ronnie Milsap great Music Nice lens Rated 5 stars!

    • GypsyGirl68 profile image

      GypsyGirl68 9 years ago

      yes, I am a Ronnie Milsap fan...sometimes I forget about these songs but always manage to find my way back to them

    • OldGrampa profile image

      OldGrampa 9 years ago

      I like Milsap and he is one of my wife's favorites. Welcome to the Classic COuntry Music group!