During his 2017 Poets and Prophets program, songwriter Mike Reid—whose catalog includes hits for Ronnie Milsap, Bonnie Raitt, Wynonna, Tim McGraw, and many others—talks about his life and music, interspersing a handful of performances, including “Everywhere,” “Stranger in My House,” “Walk on Faith,” “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and “To Be Loved by You.”
Following an All-Pro football career with the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1970s, Reid became a force as dominant in country music as he had been on the gridiron. He wrote thirteen #1 hits, including one (“Walk on Faith”) he recorded himself.
The Pennsylvania native moved to Nashville in 1980, and got off to a fast start as a songwriter. He eventually wrote a long list of hits for Milsap, including “Stranger in My House” (a Grammy winner for Best Country Song in 1983) and “Lost in the Fifties Tonight.” Reid’s songwriting profile rose further in the 1990s. Bonnie Raitt had a Top Twenty pop hit with his wistful ballad “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and he wrote #1 country hits for Collin Raye (“In This Life”), Wynonna (“To Be Loved by You”), and Tim McGraw (“Everywhere”).
Here, Mike Reid discusses his childhood in Altoona, Pennsylvania; classical piano training; football triumphs (playing for Penn State and the Cincinnati Bengals); his decision to quit athletics to concentrate on performing music and writing songs; moving to Nashville; signing with Ronnie Milsap’s song publishing firm; becoming a recording artist and recording hits for Columbia Records; stories behind his biggest songs, including many details about “I Can’t Make You Love Me”; and why “Always Gonna Be You” (album cut by Kenny Chesney) is a personal favorite.
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