April 13

The Success of Ronnie Milsap With His 1st No. 1 Hit “Pure Love”


The Success of Ronnie Milsap With His 1st No. 1 Hit “Pure Love” 1

Ronnie Milsap’s first No.1 hit “Pure Love,” marked the end of a long search.  He tried to make it to Atlanta and Memphis before his move to Nashville. During those times he was still experimenting with different styles of music.  As a matter of fact, his first records actually charted rhythm and blues singles for New York-based Scepter Records in the mid-1960s.

Moving to Nashville

Ronnie Milsap moved to the Music City on December 26, 1972. He started playing piano at Roger Miller’s King of the Road Motel. Charley Pride and his manager Jack Johnson saw Ronnie perform. Thereafter, they offered him a management contract. Tom Collins produced a demo tape on him and RCA signed Milsap to a record deal in April of 1973. “I Hate You” was Ronnie Milsap’s first country single which made the Top Ten that summer. Then a follow-up came, “That Girl Who Waits On Tables” which reached No. 11. “Pure Love,” an advertiser’s delight, followed. Eddie Rabbitt wrote it with his future wife Janine.

A Hit From Another Artist

Tom Collins heard Eddie Rabbitt perform “Pure Love” at a live show in Nashville. However, Charley Pride suggested that Milsap record it because of Milsap’s wide-ranging musical background, Collins went to great lengths to ensure a “country” production. The entire song was cut in less than half an hour. “Pure Love” sailed to No. 1 in its tenth week on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. The hit was the first of thirty-five Ronnie Milsap chart-toppers logged through 1989.  He is the fourth artist to have the most No.1 hits in history behind Merle Haggard’s 38, Conway Twitty’s 40 and King George Strait’s official Billboard tally of 44.


Charley Pride, eddie rabbitt, ronnie milsap, Tom Collins

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