Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: Ronnie Milsap, “Am I Losing You”

“Am I Losing You”

Ronnie Milsap

Written by Jim Reeves

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

May 9, 1981

Ronnie Milsap was the perfect artist to do a Jim Reeves tribute album, and he topped the Billboard chart with the only single from the excellent Out Where the Bright Lights Are Glowing.

“Am I Losing You” starts so abruptly that it feels like we’re joining him in the middle of his misery.  His vocal performance feels as influenced by Eddy Arnold as Jim Reeves, and while his phrasing in the verses isn’t as strong as those two vocalists, he really soars when the melody takes flight.

The countrypolitan arrangement is perfect for this Nashville Sound-era classic, giving it a timeless feel while still being reflective of the musical trends of its time.

All in all, it’s another winner from Milsap, and we’ll see him next with one of the biggest hits of his career.

“Am I Losing You” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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6 Comments

  1. I loved Jim Reeves and I love this song. Milsap rarely misses and he hits this one out of the park. Just a beautiful arrangement and nice vocals.

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  2. I always felt that RCA should have release more than one single from this excellent album.

    Ronnie was not the only artist to issue a Jim Reeves tribute album. During the 1960s both Faron Young and Kitty Wells released Jim Reeves tributes. Kitty’s album was ok but perhaps a bit misguided , but Faron’s album was very good. Many years later Charley Pride released an excellent tribute album.

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  3. …i never knowingly heard the jim reeves version, but this song has jim reeves (style) written all over it. nicely done by ronnie milsap but it sounds kinda dated in the early 80’s.

  4. My country music education largely resulted from the curiosity tribute recordings like this piqued. My love and admiration of a current star compelled me to explore their musical heroes and influences who I couldn’t hear on country radio at the time.

    For a guy my age, that meant trolling through record bins at the Hennepin County library system and my mom’s vinyl collection (which did include a copy of Jim Reeve’s “Songs to Warm the Heart”).

    It’s worth noting, Ronnie Milsap unfairly ate a lot of crap from country music critics in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Hearing his hits early this decade has been both revelation and reminder of his insane skills and versatility.

    As for Jim Reeves, he has similarly been mocked as being one of country music’s least cool stars. Colin Escott maintains that, “most of what happened in country music in the late 1950’s and ’60s took its cue from one record.” – “Four Walls.”

    I will always eat up one great vocalist tipping their hat to another, charges of crappiness or un-coolness be damned!

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