Craft Recordings has just announced a new collection celebrating country superstar Ronnie Milsap. Due out on May 29, The Best of Ronnie Milsap gathers up 12 of the artist’s biggest hits from his first tenure at RCA. Craft’s parent company, Concord Music, acquired the rights to 16 of Milsap’s RCA albums from between 1977-2006 last year, and this is the first physical product to come from the acquisition (an expanded digital version of this compilation featuring 25 songs was released last June by Craft and is available now).
Born in 1943 in North Carolina with a congenital condition that rendered him nearly blind, Milsap was abandoned by his mother at age one. He was taken in by his grandparents who enrolled in a school for the blind. Tragically, he was the subject of physical abuse while there that left him completely blind. But the school did allow him the opportunity to study music which lead him on his path to stardom.
A talented multi-instrumentalist who was intuitively drawn to the piano, Milsap fell in love with R&B at a young age. After recording some solo sides himself including a moderate hit with Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson and Joshie Jo Armstead’s “Never Had It So Good,” he moved to Memphis. There, he became an in-demand session musician, even recording with Elvis as both a pianist and a singer. A run-in with Charley Pride convinced him to move to Nashville where his country career got started in earnest at Roger Miller’s King of the Road Hotel. By 1973, he was signed with RCA – a relationship which would last until 1991 and give Milsap 35 country chart-toppers. Craft’s new collection rounds up 12 of the most popular and enduring songs from his classic period, including his three biggest crossover hits, 1977’s “It Was Almost Like a Song” (No. 16 Pop), 1981’s “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” (No. 5 Pop) and 1982’s “Any Day Now” (No. 14 Pop). All twelve tracks on the compilation are either a U.S. or Canadian No. 1 Country hit.
After leaving RCA, Milsap first moved to Liberty and then Capitol before going to a variety of labels. He even returned to RCA for 2006’s My Life. His last album was last year’s Duets on Riser House/G Force, on which he was joined by artists including Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Leon Russell. Milsap has been awarded 6 Grammys, 8 CMA awards and 3 Academy of Country Music Awards over the years, also receiving the CMA’s Pioneer Award in 2002. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
The Best of Ronnie Milsap has been remastered by Grammy Award-winning engineer Paul Blakemore. The liner notes have been written by our own Joe Marchese. We’ve got the tracklisting and pre-order links below if you would like to revisit some of Ronnie Milsap’s greatest songs. (The Amazon U.S. link isn’t currently accepting orders, but we anticipate that will change shortly. U.K. and Canadian links should also go live soon.)
- Smoky Mountain Rain
- I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World
- (There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me
- Stranger In My House
- Any Day Now
- Lost In The Fifties Tonight (In The Still Of The Night)
- It Was Almost Like A Song
- Don’t You Know How Much I Love You
- A Woman In Love
- He Got You
- What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life
- Show Her
Track 1 from Greatest Hits, RCA Victor LP AHL1-3772, 1980
Tracks 2-3 from There’s No Gettin’ Over Me, RCA Victor LP AHL1-4060, 1981
Tracks 4, 8, 12 from Keyed Up, RCA CD PCD14670, 1983
Tracks 5, 10 from Inside, RCA LP AHL1-4311, 1982
Track 6 from Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, RCA CD PCD1-5425, 1985
Tracks 7, 11 from It Was Almost Like A Song, RCA LP AHL1-2439, 1977
Track 9 from Stranger Things Have Happened, RCA Victor CD 9588-1-R, 1989