Ronnie Milsap is one of the most successful country artists in history, especially from a charts standpoint: In a career that dates back to 1963, he's earned an impressive 35 solo No. 1 hits in the U.S. A Grand Ole Opry member as of Feb. 6, 1976 — and a 2014 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee — Milsap has also won six Grammy Awards.

The North Carolina native's longevity and popularity make sense: He has always incorporated varied influences into his piano-based tunes, including gospel, R&B and even rock 'n' roll, and has continued to tour and record regularly. On his 2019 duets album, Ronnie Milsap: The Duets, he re-imagines some of his best-known hits with country legends (Willie Nelson, George Strait, Dolly Parton) and modern stars (Kacey Musgraves, Luke Bryan).

Below, get a listen to The Boot's picks for the Top 10 Ronnie Milsap songs.

  • 10

    "What a Difference You've Made in My Life"

    From 1977's 'It Was Almost Like a Song'

    A heartfelt piano ballad sliced with sweeping strings, the No. 1 hit "What a Difference You've Made in My Life" is Milsap at his most straightforward. More specifically, he's a besotted romantic sharing how a significant other has transformed his life for the better. "What a change you have made in my heart," he sings, with tenderness in his voice. "You replaced all the broken parts / Oh, what a change you have made in my heart."

  • 9

    "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends"

    From 1974's 'Pure Love'

    Written by Kris Kristofferson, "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends" spent two weeks at No. 1 and earned Milsap his first Grammys trophy, for Best Country Vocal Performance. A lovely slow dance fringed with pedal steel, the tune is about living in the moment and enjoying a romantic evening — without worrying about what tomorrow might bring.

  • 8

    "Prisoner of the Highway"

    From 1984's 'One More Try for Love'

    A Top 10 hit, "Prisoner of the Highway" — which boasts prominent keyboards and one of MIlsap's most forceful vocal performances — feels like an outlaw country song updated for the '80s. It's the story of a long-haul trucker who has a love-hate relationship with the road, and finds it both freeing and restricting. Mark Wills and Aaron Tippin have also covered the song.

  • 7

    "(I'd Be) A Legend in My Time"

    From 1974's 'A Legend in My Time'

    Milsap shows off his vibrato-laden croon on this Don Gibson-penned No. 1 ballad, which has also been covered by Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash. The approach is appropriate: "(I'd Be) A Legend in My Time" features a lovelorn protagonist, who tries to make light of his situation by joking he'd win a heartbreak contest ("If loneliness meant world acclaim / Everyone would know my name"). Plaintive piano, soaring orchestras and sweet backup harmonies give Milsap's version a throwback '50s vibe that suits him well.

  • 6

    "Pure Love"

    From 1974's 'Pure Love'

    Written by Eddie Rabbitt, Milsap's upbeat first No. 1 country hit is a sweet and somewhat-cheeky ode to the little things that make a relationship special. "With pure love, baby, it's pure love," he sings. "Milk and honey and Cap'n Crunch, and you in the mornin'." What's better than that?

  • 5

    "Stranger in My House"

    From 1983's 'Keyed Up'

    Milsap adjusted to the slicker production and keyboard-heavy style of the '80s better than many of his '70s country peers. Exhibit A: the dark, rock 'n' roll-leaning "Stranger in My House," which crossed over to the pop charts and depicts a relationship breakdown with thundering keyboards and a heavy electric guitar solo. Luke Bryan joined Milsap for an appropriately tough take on this song on the latter's 2019 duets album.

  • 4

    "(I'm a) Stand By My Woman Man"

    From 1976's '20/20 Vision'

    If this song makes you start singing Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man," that's no accident: The Grammy-winning tune starts out an introspective piano ballad, before blooming into a jaunty, swinging nod to the iconic country hit. Milsap portrays a man who touts love and fidelity toward his partner: "When she's down, she knows I'll be beside her / 'Cause I'm not just her lover, I'm her friend."

  • 3

    "Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)"

    From 1985's 'Greatest Hits, Volume 2'

    Milsap channeled early rock 'n' roll melodrama on this No. 1 hit, which remains one of his signature songs. Woozy saxophone and twinkling percussion add a retro '50s touch to the besotted ballad. For an extra-authentic feel, the song incorporates elements of the Five Satins' 1956 classic "In the Still of the Night." The song spent two weeks at No. 1 on the country chart, and also crossed over to the Top 10 of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. "Lost in the Fifties Tonight" also earned Milsap a Grammys trophy for Best Country Vocal Performance.

  • 2

    "Smoky Mountain Rain"

    From 1980's 'Greatest Hits'

    A No. 1 hit on both the country and adult contemporary charts, and a Top 40 pop crossover hit, the mid-tempo soft rocker "Smoky Mountain Rain" tells the story of a man hitching a ride back to Tennessee because he's had a change of heart about an ex. Unfortunately, his beloved has disappeared, and while he understands ("I can't blame her for letting go / A woman needs someone warm to hold"), he's vowed to find her: "I feel the rain running down my face / I'll find her no matter what it takes."

  • 1

    "(There's) No Gettin' Over Me"

    From 1981's 'There's No Gettin' Over Me'

    Known by a few names over the years (including "No Getting Over Me"), this song was Milsap's biggest pop crossover hit, landing at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Milsap sings from the vantage point of someone who's been dumped, but knows his ex won't be able to forget him: "I'll be the bill you forgot to pay / I'll be the dream that keeps you awake / I'll be the song on the radio." On his 2019 duets album, Milsap teams up with Kacey Musgraves for an inspired modern update; in fact, adding a female perspective brings new, richer dimensions to the song.

More From KEAN 105