Ronnie Milsap was one of the first big crossover artists of his time, with his music resonating strongly with both pop and country fans at the time. This dual-genre fanbase gave him enormous popularity on the back of songs like ““Smoky Mountain Rain,” “Any Day Now,” “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World,” “Daydreams About Night Things,” and of course, “Stranger In My House.”
Over the course of his storied career, Ronnie managed to rack up 35 #1 hits (fourth to only George Strait, Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard), 6 Grammys, 4 ACMs, 8 CMAs and 35 million albums sold. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014, and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1976.
And he did all of it despite being born legally blind.
The 80-year old has performed thousands of shows over the course of his career. But last night at Bridgestone Arena, the iconic artist took the stage for one final time in Nashville, joined by many others to pay tribute to Ronnie Milsap as his career winds down.
Now, Milsap isn’t completely hanging it up: He’ll still record and occasionally perform, but this was the last time he’ll take the stage in Nashville. So there was plenty of star power there to make it a memorable final show.
The show opened with Kelly Clarkson performing “It Was Almost Like A Song,” the title track to Milsap’s 1977 album.
And from there, artists ranging from Tracy Lawrence, Lorrie Morgan and Ricky Skaggs to Justin Moore, Randy Houser and Sara Evans took the stage to perform some of Milsap’s biggest hits and honor the country legend.
There was also a surprise appearance from Keith Urban, who sang “Out Where the Bright Lights Are Glowing,” a more obscure song from Ronnie’s tribute album to Jim Reeves.
But the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly when Ronnie took the stage himself to close out the evening with “Smoky Mountain Rain,” “Stranger In My House,” and “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me,” along with his iconic version of “America the Beautiful” before bringing his final Nashville show to an end with his cover of the Rolling Stones classic “Honky Tonk Women” alongside the rest of the artists on the lineup.
It was a fitting tribute to a country music legend – and a hell of a send-off for his final show in Nashville.