Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Ronnie Milsap, “Don’t You Know How Much I Love You”

“Don’t You Know How Much I Love You”

Ronnie Milsap

Written by Michael Stewart and Dan Williams

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

September 23 – September 30, 1983


#1 (1 week)

October 8, 1983

One of the weirdest things about the Keyed Up project is that its lead single, “Stranger in My House,” barely cracked the top five, despite it being an undeniable classic that earned its songwriter Mike Reid a Grammy for Best Country Song.  

Yet the second single, the remarkably slight “Don’t You Know How Much I Love You,” rocketed to No. 1 and even spent two weeks there on the Radio & Records listing.

At the time, “Stranger in My House” was seen by some disc jockeys as a little too rock, but it’s a way better listen than this warmed over countrypolitan effort.  Milsap sings “Don’t You Know How Much I Love You” like he very much knows it’s not one of his better efforts.  His phrasing in the verses is off and he oversings the chorus, doing his best to make something memorable out of a forgettable song.

Radio doesn’t always get it right.

“Don’t You Know How Much I Love You” gets a C-


Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous: Crystal Gayle, “Baby, What About You” |

Next: B.J. Thomas, “Old Looks From a New Lover”

Open in Spotify


  1. With respect to “Don’t You Know How Much I Love You”–for better or worse (depending on one’s perspective), it sounds like something Ronnie would have recorded had he been on the Motown level back in the 1960’s. It’s not an out-of-the-ballpark “best” of his, but I’ve heard worse.

    As to why “Stranger In My House” didn’t do as well as it should have–apart from it maybe being a bit too rock (that may very well be true, but it’s not a really a legitimate excuse to my mind), I’m almost willing to believe that it’s not the kind of song that thematically fits so narrowly onto country radio in the first place. At its heart, it is about a feeling of Paranoia–not necessarily a staple of a country song, with a few exceptions, notably Eddie Rabbitt’s 1979 pop/country crossover hit “Suspicions”.

  2. Maybe after so many hot licks, we have finally reached the soft middle-ground of mainstream meh. First Charley Pride and John Conlee turn in their least inspired work, and now this from Milsap.

    Is this the sound of Music City treading water while lost at sea, unsure if the nearest closest shore is behind it or in front of it yet?

    I wonder if the chart toppers coming from the next few years will be what has tainted the entire decade’s reputation.

    In closing, I had no idea “Stranger in My House” was not a chart topper. My brother, who is no country music fan, knows every word to this song because he heard it played endlessly on my radio through the wall separating our basement bedrooms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.