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July 31

Ronnie Milsap’s 30th of 35 No.1 Hits, “Snap Your Fingers”

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Ronnie Milsap's 30th of 35 No.1 Hits, “Snap Your Fingers” 1

“Snap Your Fingers” by Ronnie Milsap was already the third version of the song in country music. Even though this song was already in the top charts, Ronnie Milsap was the one who made it to the top. The song was written by Grady Martin and Alex Zanetis back in the early ‘60s.

The Guitarist and a Songwriter

When talking about guitar players, Chet Atkins usually gets the glory. However, Grady Martin certainly ranks among the top session guitarists to ever touch a six-string guitar in Nashville studio. A member of the “A-Team,” he was best known for his iconic work on Marty Robbins’ hit “El Paso.” In addition, other classics he played on was “Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn, Sammi Smith’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again,” and many more.

Born in Chappell Hill, Tennessee in 1929, he went to Nashville to try his hand in the music business at the age of only 15. Already great on the guitar, he also played fiddle, the instrument he was playing on his first performance on the Grand Ole Opry. For years later after arriving in Nashville, success came to Martin as a guitarist on Red Foley’s “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy.”

The most significant contribution of Grady Martin as a songwriter was “Snap Your Fingers” which came in 1962. Working with Alex Zanetis, they began to work at 10 p.m. for a 4 a.m. recording session with Joe Henderson, an R&B singer. Martin wrote all but four lines in the song and they finished after an hour and a half. Henderson earned a No. 8 record with the song on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Long History of the Song

After Joe Henderson, a lot of artists recorded “Snap Your Finger.” Barbara Lewis, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. were among the pop artist who has covered the song. In addition, the song has appeared three times on the Billboard’s Country Chart. Dick Curless was the one who introduced it to the country audience in 1971. Then the song was recorded by Don Gibson and took it to the 12th spot. Lastly, Ronnie Milsap revived the song back in 1987 which became a No. 1 hit. “Snap Your Fingers” is one of only five covers on his list of No. 1 hits.

According to producer Kyle Lehning, Ronnie Milsap brought the song in himself. Thereafter Milsap sat down at the piano and played it for Lehning and co-producer Rob Galbraith. The two men loved the song and thought it would be an interesting song to do because it contained a “melting pot of styles.” The song debuted on May 1987, with hardships the song reached the top spot in the country chart on August 1 marking Ronnie Milsap’s 30th No. 1 hit.

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Don Gibson, ronnie milsap


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