The Story Of How Charley Pride Got Ronnie Milsap Into Country Music


Ronnie’s talent was clear from the jump and in 1963 met Atlanta disc-jockey Pat Hughes, who was a big early supporter and played Milsap’s first single, “Total Disaster/It Went To Your Head” on his radio program, which helped propel it to over 15,000 copies sold.


But that initial success was short lived, and Ronnie found himself bouncing around on various labels, cutting a group of sub-par singles while trying to keep the small foothold he found early in his career.

One of those singles did actually spike to Number 18 on the R&B Charts in 1965, but his career still failed to really take off and he started taking jobs as a session musician to pay the bills, recording with some big names like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Elvis Presley, while continuing to play club gigs whenever they presented themselves.

A move to Memphis in the late ’60s didn’t really seem to help, as he just continued what he had started in Atlanta, paying the bills as a session musician while gigging wherever possible.

At this point in his career, it seemed like Ronnie would be just another statistic of the industry: A young, immense talent that just couldn’t catch a wave and got washed out in the tide of new artists popping up daily.

But everything changed one fateful night in the early 1970’s at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles, California.

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