North Carolinian Ronnie Milsap (1943-) was born blind, but that didn't stop him from being a juggernaut of the Country Music
scene in the 1970s
. In just under 25 years, he scored 35 number-one hits on the country music charts, including several major crossovers: "It Was Almost Like a Song", "Smoky Mountain Rain", "(There's) No Gettin' Over Me", "I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World", "Any Day Now" and "Stranger in My House" all made top 40 on the pop and AC formats.
He began his career in the 1960s
as a session musician, including some keyboard and backing vocal work for Elvis Presley
. After a couple minor hits, he broke through in 1974 with the number one hit "Pure Love", written by the equally poppy Eddie Rabbitt
. From then until 1992, every single he released peaked no lower than #6 on the country charts, and almost every release between 1980 and 1984 got pop airplay as well. 1992's "All Is Fair in Love and War" broke the streak, and after that, he exited RCA and never had a hit again. Nonetheless, he continues to perform and record to this day. Many of his songs were co-written by former Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Mike Reid, who also sang a duet vocal on the 1988 hit "Old Folks".
Although his slick, keyboard-driven sound was more influenced by pop and R&B than mainstream country, he is still one of the genre's most influential and prolific artists. His accolades include six Grammy Awards, five of which were for Best Country Vocal Performance — Male. "Lost in the Fifties Tonight" won this honor twice
. In 2014, he was announced as an inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Tropes present in Ronnie's work:
- Blind Musician: The most prominent in country music, by far.
- Breakup Song: "I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World".
- Greatest Hits Album: Three between 1980 and 1991.
- Not Christian Rock: "What a Difference You've Made in My Life" is often seen as having a Christian message despite not being explicitly so. This interpretation was probably fueled by the fact that Amy Grant also recorded it.
- Rearrange the Song: Ronnie Milsap Sings His Best for Capitol Records is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Oddly averted with 40 #1 Hits which contains the original RCA recordings despite being released by Virgin Records.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Turn That Radio On" goes up to A for all but the last line of the chorus, which drops back down to the original key of G.