“Why Don’t You Spend the Night”
Written by Bob McDill
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
March 14, 1980
#1 (1 week)
March 22, 1980
Ronnie Milsap entered the eighties as one of the genre’s most consistently successful artists. His 1979 album Images had produced the No. 1 hit “Nobody Likes Sad Songs” and the top ten hit “In No Time at All.” As with many Milsap singles the B-side of the latter record (“Get it Up”) had also gotten airplay. Milsap’s first album of the eighties, Milsap Magic, was led off by his first No. 1 single of the decade.
“Why Don’t You Spend the Night” sounds like two records stitched together. The verses are understated, delivered with subtlety. The chorus is loud and overproduced. Each transition from verse to chorus is a jump scare.
I don’t know why they felt the need to make the chorus so big, but the additional instrumentation and his borderline screaming delivery of the lyrics undermine what could’ve been a pretty good record. He comes off like a guy who is playing nice at first, but when he doesn’t get the results he’s looking for, he refuses to take no for an answer. The production really gets in the way here.
But here’s something I’m not sure Ronnie MIlsap has ever gotten credit for. The template he uses here is one he’d used often by this point: a loosely country vocal with a pop instrumentation that’s more aggressive than the watered-down country pop of the seventies, borrowing more from rock and roll beats than from Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound approach. Pretty much every Alabama ballad from their multiplatinum early days sounds exactly like this. I thought I might’ve cued up “Take Me Down” by mistake.
Ronnie Milsap has better records on the way, and we’ll get to them soon enough. This is the first of ten consecutive No. 1 singles from Milsap, who won’t miss the top spot again until 1984.
“Why Don’t You Spend the Night” gets a C.