Milsap was one of the major figures of country music in
the 1970s, developing a hybrid of country and pop which
brought him a large audience. He was raised by his father
and grandparents following his parents' divorce. Ronnie
was born blind from congenital glaucoma, and when he was
five began attending the Governor Moorhead School for the
Blind. At seven, his instructors noticed his extraordinary
musical talents and he began to study classical music formally.
A year after he began learning the violin, Ronnie was declared
a virtuoso. He also mastered piano, guitar and a variety
of other stringed instruments and various woodwinds. Eventually,
he became interested in rock & roll music and while still
in school formed his first rock band, the Apparitions.
January 16, 1944, Robbinsville, NC
briefly attended college in Atlanta where he studied pre-law;
though he was awarded a comprehensive scholarship, he
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.
1965, Ronnie started his own band and four years later,
after having a hit with "Never Had It So Good,"
he moved to Memphis to become a session musician. There
he frequently worked for Chips Moman and can be heard
playing keyboards on Elvis' "Kentucky Rain" and
singing harmony on "Don't Cry Daddy." When not
doing session work, Ronnie and his backing group were
the house band at TJ's Club.
1970, he had a pop hit with "Loving You Is a Natural
Thing." Following its success, in 1971 he released
his LP, 'Ronnie Milsap'.
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.
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". Ronnie had a handful
of Top Ten hits in 1975 and in late 1976, he became famous,
with six number one hits in a row. In turn, those hits
led to a remarkable run where Ronnie 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", Dax's personal favourite.
1980 and 1982, Ronnie had ten consecutive number one hits
including, "Smoky Mountain Rain," "No Gettin'
Over Me" and "Any Day Now."
again had a string of uninterrupted number one hits between
1985 and 1987, racking up eight hits. 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
had 35 number one singles.
the early '90s, Ronnie's popularity began to decline -
after 1992, he wasn't able to break into the country Top
Ten. However, he continued to record and in 1992, he left
RCA signing with 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.
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