Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: Ronnie Milsap, “My Heart”/”Silent Night (After the Fight)”

“My Heart”

Ronnie Milsap

Written by Don Pfrimmer and Charles Quillen

“Silent Night (After the Fight)”

Ronnie Milsap

Written by John Schweers

Billboard

#1 (3 weeks)

May 31 – June 14, 1980

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

June 6, 1980

Since it’s the first time we’re encountering one of these double-sided No. 1 hits, here’s a little chart history.

Radio & Records and Billboard were airplay only charts by the end of the eighties, but for most of the decade, the Billboard country chart measured both sales and airplay.  RCA Nashville was very aggressive with double A-sided singles during the early eighties. We’re going to encounter five No. 1 hits from now through 1982 that feature both sides of the 45 on the Billboard chart, and all of them will be on RCA.

Milsap is responsible for two of them, starting with “My Heart” and “Silent Night (After the Fight),” the latter of which did not appear on the Radio & Records chart.

“My Heart” is a cookie cutter Ronnie Milsap midtempo number, driven by a prominent piano track that makes the breakup song just a bit too jaunty for my tastes.  The sentiment is nice enough, as Milsap covers the well-trodden ground of the head getting a grip on a breakup before the heart can catch up.

“Silent Night (After the Fight)” is the more compelling entry of the two, living up to its clever title as the protagonist hears noises around his house that he normally sleeps right through, hoping one of them might be his partner turning on the light.  It sounds like a B-side, as if no concessions were made to radio to get it on the air.

Milsap will be back again before the end of 1980 with one of his signature hits, which will stand on its own during its impressive chart run.

“My Heart” gets a B.  

“Silent Night (After the Fight)” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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3 Comments

  1. This was the first time I ever heard “Silent Night (After the Fight),” and I love it. It’s a great “country” song and performance.

    Even with “My Heart,” I am reminded of how prominently the steel guitar is featured in the chorus. In fact, I love the layers and richness of the instrumentation in “My Heart,” from the harmonica to the piano. The song is representative of all the musical influences Milsap often brought to bear on his music. It is such a sonically quintessential Ronnie Milsap tune. It immediately takes me back to my obsessive radio listening days in the 80’s before I started purchasing the music I loved.

    “Silent Night” is such a well written song. Thank you for introducing me to it. At first blush, I am also impressed by the production. It sounds great. Hearing performances like it puts to rest the argument he was a one-trick pony, only pumping out songs like “Stranger in My House” or “Prisoner of the Highway.”

    1
    • “Silent Night” was such a pleasant surprise. RCA’s strategy at the time was pretty generous, really. With two albums per year from an artist, most albums produced only 1 or 2 singles. They brought some attention to songs that otherwise wouldn’t have had a shot. What a great value for cost-conscious fans who mostly bought singles.

  2. I agree with the rating for “My Heart” good Country pop but not essential compared to what’s coming up next. I never hear of the “Silent Night (After the fight)” but enjoyed that song. Ronnie could handle a variety of styles easily.

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