One of the hit songs in the United States back in 1981 was a tune called “Smokey Mountain Rain”, performed by Ronnie Milsap. If you haven’t heard this song, it is really a nice one. It also has quite an interesting history.
Many years earlier, Elvis Presley was one of the biggest names in music, worldwide. Even today, many people know who he was or still listen to some of his music and that music spans both decades and generations. What people might not know is that Elvis loved giving people a chance, if they had any talent at all, by giving them a place in his band. It made no difference if nobody else had ever heard of them or not.
Elvis was rather impressed by a talented blind piano player and songwriter named Ronnie Milsap. Elvis hired Ronnie to write music for him and to play the piano in Elvis’s band. It was a good move for both men. One of the songs that were done was a huge hit for Elvis: Kentucky Rain, a song that Ronnie especially liked.
Years passed and Ronnie became a major performing star in his own right, scoring a number of hits. He still remembered the song he’d helped Elvis with, though, and he still loved the music. Even though Elvis had passed away, Elvis still owned the rights to Tennessee Rain and Ronnie wasn’t about to do anything illegal, especially if it had to do with his deceased friend and mentor.
So, in 1981, Ronnie asked for a similar song to be written and Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan wrote Smokey Mountain Rain. The beat was similar to Kentucky Rain and the story the song told was similar, but it was a totally different song. Thus, Ronnie didn’t violate the friendship he’d had with his pal, the King.
The year Ronnie released and performed the song, it rapidly shot to the top of the Billboard Top 40 and stayed there for a long time. I still enjoy listening to the song from time to time.
Now you know the story of Smokey Mountain Rain.
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Posted in musings and tagged elvis presley, music, ronnie milsap, smokey mountain rain, song, tennessee rain by rextrulove with 3 comments.