Those of you who pay attention to record labels are liable to assume that this two-disc compilation consists of re-recordings of Ronnie Milsap's hits. After all, he spent his hitmaking years on RCA Victor, which is owned by BMG, while Virgin Records, which released this set, is owned by EMI, a competing major label. While the majors occasionally license a track or two to their rivals, they never loan out the bulk of an album, and Milsap, like many music veterans, has re-recorded his material before. Surprisingly, however, 40 #1 Hits is an exception to these suppositions; it does contain Milsap's original RCA Victor recordings, digitally remastered. Meanwhile, those of you who are fans of statistics and who consult only the charts in the best-known music trade magazine (or who have perused All Music Guide's biography of Milsap) may suppose that the artist hasn't had 40 country chart-toppers, only 35. But there is more than one music trade magazine and more than one country singles chart, and a record that stopped short of the summit on one may have made it on another. For the sake of interest, the number one songs according to other charts found here are "Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry," "Just in Case," "Back on My Mind," "Stranger Things Have Happened," and "Since I Don't Have You," all of which made the Top Ten in that well-known magazine's rankings. Finally, those of you who are good at addition will note that there are actually 43 tracks on 40 #1 Hits. "Stranger in My House," which is one of those extra recordings, didn't get to number one by anybody's estimation, but it did hit the country Top Five and the pop Top 40, and it won the Best New Country Song Grammy Award for 1983. The other two are newly recorded songs, "Livin' on Love" and "Time, Love and Money," both of which rock a little harder than Milsap usually does. All told, Ronnie Milsap's 40 #1 Hits is a compilation that exceeds expectations and stands as the definitive collection of the most popular work by one of the most successful country artists of the '70s and '80s.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2