Saturday, June 22, 2013

"Smokey Mountain Rain" by Ronnie Milsap

Song#:  0422
Date:  11/29/1980
Debut:  83
Peak:  24
Weeks:  21
Genre:  Country Crossover

Pop Bits:  Although he would go on to become a country music superstar, few know that Milsap originally started his career in R&B. He signed with Scepter Records in 1965 and had #19 R&B hit with "Never Had It So Good," written by Ashford & Simpson. He recorded other songs but none made the charts except for a lone pop single in 1970 called "Loving You Is a Natural Thing" which reached #87. Milsap made a move to Nashville, changed his sound based on a conversation with country star Charley Pride, and signed with RCA Records. He issued his first country-based album for them in 1973 and scored immediately on the country chart with the #10 "I Hate You." The rest of the 70s saw him get 12 #1 country songs and the 80s were even better. This song from his "Greatest Hits" album caught him in the midst of a streak of 10 #1 country hits and it was his second biggest pop hit at the time.

ReduxReview:  It's funny that I really like Ronnie Milsap and I probably only have a couple songs of his. I really need to get a compilation of his stat! First, he has a great voice. If you have not heard him sing "It Was Almost Like a Song," you should. Second, Milsap wasn't a songwriter, but he got hold of some solid country/pop tunes over the years. This is one of those songs. Milsap really should have done better on pop radio than he did, getting only four Top 20 hits, but songs like this should always get folks interesting in his music.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  In 2010, this was adopted as an official state song for Tennessee.  The state has a short list of official songs that also includes "Rocky Top" and "Tennessee Waltz."


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