The Story Behind The Song: “Nobody Likes Sad Songs” – Ronnie Milsap

The “Images” album made RCA a little nervous. Milsap took six months to make it – an excessive amount of time for a country artist – as he experimented with his new facility.

Finally, in April of 1979, RCA tapped “Nobody Likes Sad Songs” as the first single from Milsap’s new playground. Bob McDill and Wayland Holyfield had started it from a working title, “I Hate Sad Songs.” After “a lot of hard hours,” as Wayland put it, the two writers shaped the story of a club performer whose repertoire mirrors his personal life.

The song was reminiscent of the early days when Ronnie Milsap worked at a nightclub in Memphis called “T. J.’s.” He performed there for about two-and-a-half years, working six or seven sets a night. The club’s owner was always on Ronnie’s back about one thing or another. It was a tough lesson in the life of an entertainer. When introduced to “Nobody Likes Sad Songs,” Ronnie remembered back to those difficult days before he reached stardom and those memories are what drew him to the song.

Milsap recorded “Nobody Likes Sad Songs” in December of 1978 and the tune easily glided into the number one position on Billboard’s country singles chart June 23, 1979 for Ronnie’s 12th of an eventual 35 chart-toppers, the fourth most in history behind Merle Haggard’s 38, Conway Twitty’s 40 and George Strait’s authentic, accurate and official Billboard count of 44.


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