November 24

Ronnie Milsap’s Second Biggest Pop Record, “Any Day Now”

Ronnie Milsap's Second Biggest Pop Record, “Any Day Now" 1

This No.1 hit of Ronnie Milsap was written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard. The song is not a Milsap original, it was Chuck Jackson who recorded the song first in 1962. The decision for Milsap to record the song proved to be right when it reached the No. 1 spot in Billboard’s Country Chart and in Adult Contemporary Chart back in 1982.

Ronnie Milsap had long thought of recording the song and producer Tom Collins brought that notion to the surface when he mentioned “Any Day Now” during a recording session in January of 1982. The country legend immediately started playing with the idea. He mentioned it to session player Charlie McCoy. Charlie said, “Well, everybody knows that song – what key do you want to do it in?” Ronnie answered, “Let’s do it in F.” After a quick run-down, “Any Day Now” turned out to be an uncharacteristic early-on take for him. Collins encouraged Milsap to make the song sound different than Jackson’s original. The result, Ronnie recorded it in a different key and sang it softly.

They initially cut a basic rhythm pattern and it was doing okay. Then the Memphis Horns were brought in to punch up the track, working up a “head arrangement” under the guidance of Milsap and Collins. Bergen White did the strings, which were overdubbed in after the background vocals were added. Ronnie said, “Bergen really enhanced that record. It was one of those tracks that the more you added to it, the better it got. Layer upon layer. We couldn’t seem to stop.”

““Any Day Now” is the first studio cut that I used two tandem 24-tracks.“We couldn’t get everything on one tape, so we used an additional tape, called a “slave tape,” and had to run both machines at the same time to mix. A super-slow process, but what a big record it makes!” 

A far cry from the old days when performers and musicians would have to step up to one microphone and do their song directly onto an acetate. No mixing. No muss, no fuss. The problem was, you couldn’t make any mistakes. If you did, you had to start over and the expensive acetate was tossed into a trash can, which the record company didn’t much care for. So the pressure was really on to get it right the first time. Technology changed all that.

“Any Day Now” was Milsap’s 20th single to top Billboard’s country chart, reaching the summit on July 3, 1982. It also climbed to No. 14 on the all-encompassing Billboard Hot 100, marking Ronnie’s 2nd biggest pop record, behind “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me,” which peaked at No. 5 the year before. Billboard Magazine named “Any Day Now” the top Adult Contemporary single of 1982.



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