200 North 11th Street Fort Smith, AR 72901
Doors Open 7 PM
Show Starts 8 PM
No country singer had as smooth a touch as Ronnie Milsap. Blending country and soul so elegantly it could often appeal to a pop audience — and it did: “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” went all the way to number five on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1981 — Milsap also had deep roots in soul.
Long before he was a fixture on the country charts — during his prime, he racked up 35 number one hits — Milsap cracked the R&B charts with a version of Ashford & Simpson‘s “Never Had It So Good,” and that familiarity with rhythm & blues was apparent throughout his work. Nevertheless, his strength lay in taking it easy, a quality evident on “Pure Love,” his breakthrough number one in 1974. Arriving just after Charlie Rich brought a similar country-soul synthesis into the upper reaches of the charts, “Pure Love” rocketed to number one on Billboard’s country charts, followed to that position by “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends” — a one-two punch that turned the singer into a star.
Milsap sustained that stardom for nearly two decades, remaining a fixture in the charts by subtly, slyly adapting to the times: he borrowed some of the urbane slickness of Urban Cowboy at the dawn of the ’80s and happily made videos during the peak of MTV. As he entered his mature phase, he capitalized on a nostalgic streak, remaking rock & roll chestnuts in the mid-’80s, thereby setting himself up to ease into the oldies circuit once the hits dried up in the early ’90s.
Despite relying on his old hits, Milsap never entirely stopped recording, resurfacing every decade or so for a splashy comeback along the lines of 2006’s My Life, and earning an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
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