Forty #1s. Five decades of charted singles. Creating a new way of recording (being blind his hyper-attuned hearing led him to create/build what is now known as Ronnie’s Place), he broke genre rules and became one of the biggest pop/AC and even R&B artists of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.Six Grammys. CMA Entertainer of the Year and four Album of the Year Awards. The first country video played on MTV (the ironic “She Loves My Car”). An early champion of NFL star Mike Reid, who wrote many of Ronnie’s #1 hits.
Always chasing the music, always hungry for the songs, he is now an inspiration for a new generation of country stars from critical standard setters Kacey Musgraves and Little Big Town to Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, as well as a standard-setter for friends like Dolly Parton, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Steven Curtis Chapman and even groundbreakers Leon Russell and Billy Gibbons.
Just as importantly, Ronnie Milsap is a testament to going where you don’t belong with an open heart and a true sense of music as compass. A rebel blind boy often at odds at school for following the music in his heart, that music took him to places white people didn’t go... brought him a wife of 54 years who would be not just a steadfast companion, but a fellow traveler in the songs... gave him stages from the chitlin circuit, soul clubs, rock rooms to the biggest arenas, “Solid Gold,” the White House and beyond.
He saw racism inside out. He led with an open-mind, and a hunger to play. He created action in songs instead of words without tangible works. He’s the same guy today, but all these years later, he’s still a man who lives to play.
And man, can he tell a story