Friday, March 31, 2017

Today's Featured Artist...March 31, 2017...Vanilla Fudge (video + blog + links)

Vanilla Fudge

(Read all about Vanilla Fudge after the video)

Vanilla Fudge is an American rock band known predominantly for their extended rock arrangements of contemporary hit songs, most notably "You Keep Me Hangin' On".

The band's original lineup—vocalist/organist Mark Stein, bassist/vocalist Tim Bogert, lead guitarist/vocalist Vince Martell, and drummer/vocalist Carmine Appice—recorded five albums during the years 1967–69, before disbanding in 1970. The band is currently touring with three of the four original members, Mark Stein, Vince Martell, and Carmine Appice with Pete Bremy on bass as Bogert retired in 2009.
The band has been cited as "one of the few American links between psychedelia and what soon became heavy metal."[4] Vanilla Fudge also is known to have influenced other major bands such as The Nice, Deep Purple, Yes, Styx, and Led Zeppelin.


Stein and Bogert had played in a local band called Rick Martin & The Showmen. The pair were so impressed by the swinging sound and floods of organ of The Rascals they decided to form their own band in 1965 with Martell and Rick Martin's drummer, Mark Dolfen, who was quickly replaced by Joey Brennan. Originally calling themselves The Electric Pigeons, they soon shortened the name to The Pigeons. In December 1966 Brennan moved on to The Younger Brothers Band and Bogert became very impressed with a young drummer named Carmine Appice he'd heard playing at the Headliner Club on 43rd Street in a cover band called Thursday's Children. Appice was asked to join The Pigeons and in his 2016 autobiography, Stick It!, Carmine explained the name change to "Vanilla Fudge": "In April 1967 the Pigeons got signed to Atlantic Records. But there was one drawback, however: Atlantic didn't want to sign "The Pigeons". Ahmet Ertegun, the label's founder and president, didn't like that name and told us we had to change it. We didn't mind, in fact, I had always thought the Pigeons was a weird thing to be called but had just gone with it. We tried to think up a new name but were getting nowhere until we played a gig at the Page 2 club on Long Island and ended up talking to a chick named Dee Dee who worked there. She told us how her grandfather used to call her Vanilla Fudge. Then she looked at us and added 'Maybe you guys should call yourselves that—you're like white soul music'. We liked it. We told our manager, Phil Basile. He liked it. We told Atlantic and they liked it, too. So Vanilla Fudge it was". A recording of the Pigeons was released by Scepter/Wand in 1970 under the title of "While the World was Eating Vanilla Fudge."
Vanilla Fudge was managed by the aforementioned reputed Lucchese crime family member Phillip Basile, who operated several popular clubs in New York. Their first three albums (Vanilla Fudge, The Beat Goes On, and Renaissance) were produced by Shadow Morton, whom the band met through The Rascals. When Led Zeppelin first toured the USA in early 1969, they opened for Vanilla Fudge on some shows.
The band's biggest hit was its cover of "You Keep Me Hangin' On," a slowed-down, hard rocking version of a song originally recorded by The Supremes. This version featured Stein's psychedelic-baroque organ intro and Appice's energetic drumming. It was a Top 10 hit in Canada, the US, and Australia and a Top 20 hit in the UK in 1967.
The members of Vanilla Fudge were great admirers of The Beatles, and covered several of their songs including "Ticket to Ride" and "Eleanor Rigby." The self-titled debut album quotes "Strawberry Fields Forever" at the end, with the line "there's nothing to get hung about."
According to Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord, Vanilla Fudge's organ-heavy sound was a large influence on the British band Deep Purple, with Blackmore even stating that his band wanted to be a "Vanilla Fudge clone" in its early years.[5]

Breakup and reunions

On March 14, 1970, Vanilla Fudge played a farewell concert at the Phil Basile's Action House. After that, Bogert & Appice departed to go ahead with another group, Cactus, that they'd been planning since late 1969. In 1972 they left Cactus and formed Beck, Bogert & Appice with guitarist Jeff Beck. Stein, left on his own, tried to keep the group going with two new players, Sal D'Nofrio (bass) and Jimmy Galluzi (drums) (both of whom had been members of a Poughkeepsie, New York group known as 'The Dirty Elbows'). But when nothing came from this, Stein ended up forming a new group, Boomerang, instead with Galluzi.
Following the band's breakup in 1970, the band has reunited several times. In 1982, they reunited in support of the Atco Records release, Best of Vanilla Fudge. This resulted in another album of fresh material in 1984 called Mystery. Martell was not included in this initial reunion and Ron Mancuso played guitar on Mystery instead, along with Jeff Beck, who guested under the moniker "J. Toad". Two reunion tours followed in 1987/1988.[6] with Paul Hanson on guitar. Lanny Cordola was guitarist when the band took the stage on May 14, 1988 for the Atlantic Records' 40th Anniversary Celebration. After that, the individual members went their separate ways once again to pursue other projects.
In 1991 Appice revived the Vanilla Fudge name for a tour with Ted Nugent's former band members Derek St. Holmes (guitar, vocals), Martin Gerschwitz (keyboards, vocals), and Tom Croucier (bass, vocals), which resulted in the album The Best of Vanilla Fudge – Live.
Three of the originals (Appice, Bogert, and Martell) reunited in 1999 with vocalist/organist Bill Pascali replacing Mark Stein to record a "greatest hits" album, Vanilla Fudge 2001/ The Return / Then And Now, with new recordings of previous songs and three new songs.[7] 2002 had Pete Bremy and T.M. Stevens subbing on bass for an ill Bogert and 2003 saw a release of Vanilla Fudge's live album, The Real Deal – Vanilla Fudge Live, recorded on tour in 1987 with Paul Hanson on guitar. Martell overdubbed his guitar and vocals later. In 2003–2005, the group toured with Teddy Rondinelli standing in on guitar for Martell.
In 2005, all four original members Vanilla Fudge reunited for a tour with members of The Doors (touring as Riders On The Storm) and Steppenwolf, or in some areas The Yardbirds. Pascali returned in place of Stein for some 2005 and 2006 shows before leaving to join the New Rascals. On October 15, 2006, Vanilla Fudge was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame[8] with Billy Joel, Joan Jett and producer Shadow Morton. Fellow Long Islander Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals inducted them.
In the summer of 2007 HBO's final episode of The Sopranos featured "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (with Pascali's lead vocals) as a theme for their cliff hanger. The band also went back into the studio to record Out Through the In Door, a Led Zeppelin cover album released in 2007 only in Europe. Also, the band (Stein & Martell with Steve Argy on bass and Jimmyjack Tamburo on drums) performed "You Keep Me Hangin' On" for the PBS fundraising program My Music: My Generation – The '60s for the March 2008 pledge drive.
In March 2008 the original lineup of Vanilla Fudge embarked on a tour of the United States (mostly in New England). But in the summer of that year, Bogert and Appice left to concentrate on Cactus, which they had reformed in 2006. Stein and Martell continued on in 2008 and 2009 as Mark Stein and Vince Martell of Vanilla Fudge with a tour that was called "Let's Pray For Peace," with Jimmyjack Tamburo on drums and Pete Bremy returning on bass.[9] Out Through the In Door was released in the US in 2008.[10] Stein and Martell also performed shows during this period with Steve Argy and Jimmyjack Tamburo again as the rhythm section.
In the fall of 2010, Tim Bogert announced his retirement from touring and was replaced by Pete Bremy. In the spring of 2011, Vanilla Fudge embarked on what was announced as their farewell tour. The lineup for the tour was: Carmine Appice, Mark Stein, Vince Martell and Pete Bremy (bass). On March 29, 2011, the band appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and performed "You Keep Me Hangin' On." This lineup has continued to tour since.

More Music History for March 31, 2017

 1949 -

March 31
RCA Victor introduces the 45 rpm single record, which had been in development since 1940. The 7 inch disc was designed to compete with the 33 1/3 LP introduced by Columbia a year earlier. Both formats offered better fidelity and longer playing time than the 78 rpm platter that was currently in use. Advertisements for new record players boasted that with 45 RPM records, the listener could hear up to ten records with speedy, silent, hardly noticeable changes.

1956 -

March 31
Brenda Lee made her first network television appearance on ABC's Ozark Jamboree.

1957 -

March 31
Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Obie Wheeler, Carl Perkins and Glen Douglas open a tour of the South in Little Rock, Arkansas.

1958 -

March 31
Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" is released. It would enter the Billboard charts six weeks later and rise to number 8 on the Hot 100 and number two on the R&B chart. The song's original lyrics referred to Johnny as a "colored boy", but Berry later acknowledged that he changed it to "country boy" to ensure radio play.

1962 -

March 31
The Shirelles' "Soldier Boy" is released in the US on Sceptor Records. The tune becomes the group's biggest hit, reaching number one, selling over a million copies and earning a Gold record.

March 31
Connie Francis had the #1 song on the Billboard singles chart with "Don't Break The Heart That Loves You". In the UK, it stalled at #33.

1967 -

March 31
Jimi Hendrix suffered minor burns after he set fire to his guitar for the first time at The Rainbow Theatre. That night, he shared the stage with The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and, believe it or not, Engelbert Humperdinck.

1977 -

March 31
Elvis Presley's concert in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is postponed during intermission when he is too ill to go onstage. The next day, he is admitted to a Memphis hospital for a six day stay, suffering from fatigue and intestinal flu.

1982 -

March 31
The Doobie Brothers announced that they were splitting up. The band started in the '70s with the #11 hit "Listen to the Music" and would re-unite for 1989's Top Ten smash, "The Doctor".

1986 -

March 31
O'Kelly Isley of The Isley Brothers died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 48. As a trio, the Isleys started as a Gospel group in the early 1950s, switching to R&B in the latter half of the decade. Their first big hit was "Shout" in 1959, followed in 1962 by the original version of "Twist and Shout", later covered by the Beatles. The Isley Brothers' biggest hit came in 1969 with the million-selling "It's Your Thing."

1994 -

March 31
Madonna caused trouble on the set of The Late Show With David Letterman. The network had to delete 13 offending words from the audio track before the show aired. An obviously annoyed Letterman told the singer "People don't want language like that coming into their living room." Madonna also handed Letterman a pair of her panties and told him to sniff them. He declined and stuffed them into his desk drawer. Robin Williams later described the segment as a "battle of wits with an unarmed woman."

1995 -

March 31
Jimmy Page escaped injury when a fan rushed the stage at a Page And Plant concert at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Michigan. The fan was stopped by two security guards, who he stabbed instead. After he was arrested, he told police that he wanted to kill Jimmy Page because of the Satanic music he was playing.

2006 -

March 31
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry announced that digital music sales almost tripled around the world in 2005, reaching $1.1 billion in value.

2010 -

March 31
A private detective's search for Olivia Newton-John's former boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, was called off when McDermott sent photos and voice recordings to prove that he was alive and well. McDermott vanished at sea in 2005 and was believed to have drowned after a boating mishap, but has since been traced to the Mexican fishing village of Sayulita, where he was working as a deckhand. Newton-John split from McDermott the day before he disappeared and she went on to wed millionaire herb entrepreneur John Easterling in 2008.

March 31
Cher's first child, Chaz Bono, asked a judge to formally change his name and gender following the sex change surgery he had last year. The 41-year-old, who was born Chastity Sun Bono, now wants to be known as Chaz Salvatore according to a petition filed in Los Angeles. Salvatore was his father Sonny Bono's real first name.

2015 -

March 31
Boz Scaggs releases his latest album, "A Fool To Care".

Today in Music History...March 31, 2017 (Now with links)

Music History: March 31

2015 British jazz pianist Ralph Sharon, who brought "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" to Tony Bennett, dies in Boulder, Colorado, at age 91.

2009 Lynyrd Skynyrd releases Live at the Cardiff Capitol Theatre. It features music recorded at Cardiff, Wales' Capitol Theatre on November 4, 1975. It's released alongside the album Authorized Bootleg: Live In Winterland, San Francisco, CA, 3/07/76.

2009 Lynyrd Skynyrd releases Authorized Bootleg: Live In Winterland, San Francisco, CA, 3/07/76. It's released alongside Live at the Cardiff Capitol Theatre.

2008 U2 join Madonna and sign a huge contract with Live Nation. Bono and Co. get a boatload of stock that they'd later sell off.

2007 Police issue arrest warrants for Country singer Billy Joe Shaver after he shoots and wounds a man outside a Lorena, Texas bar. Shaver later turns himself in.

2001 Mr. Acker Bilk receives an MBE (Member of the British Empire) medal from Queen Elizabeth for services to the music industry.

1996 Jeffrey Lee Pierce (Gun Club)

1995 23 year old Lance Cunningham injures four people at a Jimmy Page/Robert Plant concert in Auburn Hills, Michigan when he tries to rush the stage with a pocketknife. Cunningham claims he was trying to attack Page, accusing him of being "Satanic."

1995 Tejano singer Selena dies after being shot by her former personal assistant and former fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar, in Corpus Christi, Texas at the age of 23.

1993 Mitchell Parish

1992 Bruce Springsteen releases two albums, Human Touch and Lucky Town.

1987 Georg Listing (Tokio Hotel)

1986 O'Kelly Isley (of The Isley Brothers) dies of a heart attack at age 48 in Alpine, New Jersey.

1985 The Singing Nun

1984 Kenny Loggins' "Footloose" hits #1 in America. It's the title song to the now-famous film where Kevin Bacon brings dancing to a small town in the South.

1982 After twelve years together, The Doobie Brothers announce their (temporary) breakup.

1981 At the first ever Golden Raspberry Awards (aka The Razzies), Neil Diamond takes home the prize for Worst Actor for his performance as Yussel Rabinovitch in The Jazz Singer. Laurence Olivier, who played Cantor Rabinovitch in the film, also scores a Razzie for Best Supporting Actor, an honor he shares with John Adames for Gloria.

1973 Elton John appears on the front page of Melody Maker, which proclaims "Now Elton's A Teen Idol!"

1972 The official Beatles Fan Club disbands.

1972 America's LP America hits #1.

1971 Karl Lawrence King, who composed the Barnum and Bailey's circus music, dies at age 80.

1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono hold a press conference in Vienna where they announce their "Bagism" project, giving the entire press conference from inside a white bag.

1969 Led Zeppelin's first album is released in the UK. The self-titled LP contains many hard rock classics, including "Dazed And Confused," "Good Times, Bad Times" and "Communication Breakdown."

1969 A short John Lennon film entitled Rape appears on Australian TV.

1969 George Harrison and his wife, Pattie, appear in court in Surrey, England, to answer recent charges of marijuana resin possession. Both are fined 250 pounds.

1967 The Beatles, Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!

1966 Elvis Presley's Frankie & Johnnie movie premieres in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

1962 The Shirelles, Soldier Boy

1962 In these pre-Beatles years, Connie Francis is one of the biggest stars in America. She scores her third #1 with "Don't Break The Heart That Loves You."

1960 Hank Ballard, "Finger Poppin' Time"

1959 Robert Holmes ('til tuesday)

1958 Pat McGlynn (The Bay City Rollers)

1958 Chuck Berry releases "Johnny B. Goode." The song is named after his piano player (Johnnie Johnson) and the street where he grew up (Goode Avenue).

1957 Sun Records stars Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins begin a tour of the South in Little Rock, Arkansas with Jerry Lee Lewis as a support act.

1956 Brenda Lee makes her US television debut, singing an unrehearsed version of Hank Williams' Jambalaya (On The Bayou) on ABC-TV's Ozark Jamboree.

1955 Angus Young is born in Glasgow, Scotland. He later moves to Australia and forms AC/DC with his brother Malcolm.

1954 Tony Brock (The Tubes, The Babys)

1953 Sean Hopper (Huey Lewis and the News)

1949 RCA introduces the 45 rpm record, which eventually becomes the format of choice for "singles," becoming more popular than the 78 rpm format by 1958.

1948 Jon Jon Poulos (The Buckinghams)

1948 Thijs Van Leer (Focus)

1947 Al Goodman (The Moments)

1946 Allan Nichol (The Turtles)

1944 Guitarist Mick Ralphs of Mott The Hoople and Bad Company is born in Herefordshire, England.

1944 Rod Allen (The Fortunes)

1935 Herb Alpert is born in Los Angeles, California.

1935 Herb Alpert

1935 Richard Chamberlain

1934 Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family)

1934 John D. Loudermilk is born in Durham, North Carolina. He records as "Johnny Dee," but has his most success as a songwriter, composing "Tobacco Road" and "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)," a #1 hit for the Raiders in 1971.

1934 An article in Melody Maker declares: Expel All Jewish Musicians: A Little Hitler Invades Archer Street. Fascists Launch Fierce New Campaign.
This refers to an Imperial Fascist League member Jackson Phillips as the "Little Hitler" of Archer Street. The article contains the memorable quote: "...he saw the light of Fascism, and this apparently so dazzled him that he has been unable to see anything else very clearly since."

1933 Ina Anita Carter (The Carter Sisters)

1928 Lefty Frizzell

1921 Lowell Fulson

1908 Red Norvo

1685 Johann Sebastian Bach is born in Germany.

Jimi Hendrix Sets Guitar On Fire

1967At the Astoria Theatre in London, Jimi Hendrix sets fire to his guitar for the first time, and goes to the hospital after the show with minor burns. During the rest of the tour, Hendrix makes a habit of playing his guitar with his teeth, and he ignites his axe a few more times.
Despite Hendrix's reputation for destroying instruments during his performances, the audience can hardly be expecting such an inflammatory incident: The Jimi Hendrix Experience are at the bottom of the bill, opening up for three much tamer acts: The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and crooner Engelbert Humperdinck.

As the band perform their new song "Fire," Hendrix throws down his guitar onto the stage, creating an inferno of feedback. With the audience suitably distracted, band manager Chas Chandler covers the instrument with lighter fluid (which was dutifully purchased from the local store by a roadie earlier that day). Hendrix then strikes a series of matches until the Stratocaster is eventually engulfed in four-foot flames.

In the heat of the moment, Hendrix fails to realize that he has burned his hands, and after the blaze is extinguished, he completes the song using another guitar. After the show, he attends the local hospital for the treatment of minor burns.

The stunt was suggested by rock journalist Keith Altham, and it certainly fuels media coverage of the hot young star. The burning of a guitar becomes the centerpiece of many Experience shows from that point forward, most notably at Monterey later in the year where the stunt is caught on film.

In 2008, the charred remains of the Fender Stratocaster that was ignited in the Astoria show are auctioned, raising over half a million dollars.

Bowie Honored At Carnegie Hall

2016Michael Stipe, Cyndi Lauper, Ann Wilson and Perry Farrell are among the performers at a Carnegie Hall concert honoring David Bowie.
The concert is announced on January 10, but just hours later, news hits that Bowie had died. So many musicians volunteer to play the show that another date is added for the following day at Radio City Music Hall.

At Carnegie Hall, Debbie Harry does "Starman," Farrell plays "Rebel Rebel," and Jakob Dylan sings "Heroes." One of the more memorable performances is by The Flaming Lips, whose lead singer Wayne Coyne sings "Life On Mars?" on the shoulders of a bandmate dressed like Chewbacca.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Today's Featured Artist...March 30, 2017...Roger Miller (video + blog + links)

Roger Miller

  (Read all about Roger Miller after the video)

Roger Dean Miller, Sr. (January 2, 1936 – October 25, 1992) was an American singer, songwriter, musician and actor, best known for his honky-tonk-influenced novelty songs. His most recognized tunes included the chart-topping country/pop hits "King of the Road", "Dang Me" and "England Swings", all from the mid-1960s Nashville sound era.
After growing up in Oklahoma and serving in the United States Army, Miller began his musical career as a songwriter in the late 1950s, penning such hits as "Billy Bayou" and "Home" for Jim Reeves and "Invitation to the Blues" for Ray Price. He later began a recording career and reached the peak of his fame in the mid-1960s, continuing to record and tour into the 1990s, charting his final top 20 country hit "Old Friends" with Willie Nelson in 1982. He also wrote and performed several of the songs for the 1973 Disney animated film Robin Hood. Later in his life, he wrote the music and lyrics for the 1985 Tony-award winning Broadway musical Big River, in which he acted.
Miller died from lung cancer in 1992, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame three years later. His songs continued to be recorded by younger artists, with covers of "Tall, Tall Trees" by Alan Jackson and "Husbands and Wives" by Brooks & Dunn, each reaching the number one spot on country charts in the 1990s. The Roger Miller Museum in his home town of Erick, Oklahoma, is a tribute to Miller.

Early life

Roger Miller was born in Fort Worth, Texas, the third son of Jean and Laudene (Holt) Miller. Jean Miller died from spinal meningitis when Roger was a year old. Unable to support the family during the Great Depression,[1] Laudene sent her three sons to live with three of Jean's brothers. Thus, Roger grew up on a farm outside Erick, Oklahoma with Elmer and Armelia Miller.[2]
As a boy, Miller did farm work, such as picking cotton and plowing. He would later say he was "dirt poor" and that as late as 1951 the family did not own a telephone.[3] He received his primary education at a one-room schoolhouse. Miller was an introverted child, and would often daydream or compose songs. One of his earliest compositions went: "There's a picture on the wall. It's the dearest of them all, Mother."[1]
Miller was a member of the National FFA Organization in high school.[3] He listened to the Grand Ole Opry and Light Crust Doughboys on a Fort Worth station with his cousin's husband, Sheb Wooley. Wooley taught Miller his first guitar chords and bought him a fiddle. Wooley, Hank Williams, and Bob Wills were the influences that led to Miller's desire to be a singer-songwriter. He began to run away and perform in Oklahoma and Texas. At 17, he stole a guitar out of desperation to write songs; however, he turned himself in the next day. He chose to enlist in the United States Army to avoid jail. He later quipped, "My education was Korea, Clash of '52." Near the end of his military service, while stationed in Atlanta, Georgia, Miller played fiddle in the "Circle A Wranglers," a military musical group started by Faron Young.[1] While Miller was stationed in South Carolina, an army sergeant whose brother was Kenneth C. "Jethro" Burns from the musical duo Homer and Jethro, persuaded him to head to Nashville after his discharge.[2]


Nashville songwriter

On leaving the Army, Miller traveled to Nashville to begin his musical career. He met with Chet Atkins, who asked to hear him sing, loaning him a guitar since Miller did not own one. Out of nervousness, Miller played the guitar and sang a song in two different keys. Atkins advised him to come back later, when he had more experience. Miller found work as a bellhop at Nashville's Andrew Jackson Hotel, and he was soon known as the "singing bellhop." He was finally hired by Minnie Pearl to play the fiddle in her band.[4] He then met George Jones, who introduced him to music executives from the Starday Records label who scheduled an audition. Impressed, the executives set up a recording session with Jones in Houston. Jones and Miller collaborated to write "Tall, Tall Trees" and "Happy Child."[1]
The human mind is a wonderful thing. It starts working before you're even born and doesn't stop again until you sit down to write a song.
Roger Miller[5]
After marrying and becoming a father, Miller put aside his music career to be a fireman in Amarillo, Texas.[1] A fireman by day, he performed at night. Miller said that as a fireman he saw only two fires, one in a "chicken coop" and another he "slept through," after which the department "suggested that...[he] seek other employment." Miller met Ray Price, and became a member of his Cherokee Cowboys. He returned to Nashville and wrote "Invitation to the Blues," which was covered by Rex Allen and later by Ray Price, whose recording was a number three hit on country charts.[6] Miller then signed with Tree Publishing on a salary of $50 a week. He wrote: "Half a Mind" for Ernest Tubb, "That's the Way I Feel" for Faron Young; and his first number one, "Billy Bayou," which along with "Home" were recorded by Jim Reeves. Miller became one of the biggest songwriters of the 1950s; however, Bill Anderson would later remark that "Roger was the most talented, and least disciplined, person that you could imagine," citing the attempts of Miller's Tree Publishing boss, Buddy Killen to force him to finish a piece. He was known to give away lines, inciting many Nashville songwriters to follow him around since, according to Killen, "everything he said was a potential song."[1]

Recording career

Miller signed a recording deal with Decca Records in 1958. He was paired with singer Donny Lytle, who later gained fame under the name Johnny Paycheck, to perform the Miller-penned "A Man Like Me," and later "The Wrong Kind of Girl." Neither of these honky-tonk-style songs charted. His second single with the label, featuring the B-side "Jason Fleming," foreshadowed Miller's future style. To make money, Miller went on tour with Faron Young's band as a drummer, although he had never drummed. During this period, he signed a record deal with Chet Atkins at RCA Victor, for whom Miller recorded "You Don't Want My Love" (also known as "In the Summertime") in 1960, which marked his first appearance on country charts, peaking at No. 14. The next year, he would make an even bigger impact, breaking through the top 10 with his single "When Two Worlds Collide", co-written with Bill Anderson.[7] But Miller soon tired of writing songs, divorced his wife, and began a party lifestyle that earned him the moniker "wild child." He was dropped from his record label and began to pursue other interests.[1]

After numerous appearances on late night comedy shows, Miller decided that he might have a chance in Hollywood as an actor. Short of money, he signed with the up-and-coming label Smash Records, asked the label for $1,600 in cash in exchange for recording 16 sides. Smash agreed to the proposal, and Miller performed his first session for the company early in 1964, when he recorded the hits "Dang Me" and "Chug-a-Lug". Both were released as singles, peaking at No. 1 and No. 3 respectively on country charts; both fared well on the Billboard Hot 100 reaching No. 7 and No. 9.[8] The songs transformed Miller's career, although the former was penned by Miller in just four minutes. Later that year, he recorded the No. 15 hit "Do-Wacka-Do," and soon after, the biggest hit of his career "King of the Road", which topped Country and Adult Contemporary charts while peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard 100. It also reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart for one week in May 1965. The song was inspired by a sign in Chicago that read "Trailers for Sale or Rent" and a hobo who happened upon by Miller at an airport in Boise, but Miller needed months to write the song, which was certified gold in May 1965 after selling a million copies. It won numerous awards and earned a royalty check of $160,000 that summer.[1] Later in the year Miller scored hits with "Engine Engine No. 9", "Kansas City Star" (a Top Ten country hit in 1965 about a local television children's show personality who would rather stay in the safety and security of his success in Kansas City than become a bigger star – or risk failure – in Omaha) and "England Swings" (an adult contemporary No. 1). He began 1966 with the hit "Husbands and Wives."[8]
Miller was given his own TV show on NBC in September 1966 but it was canceled after 13 weeks in January 1967. During this period Miller recorded songs written by other songwriters. The final hit of his own composition was "Walkin in the Sunshine," which reached No. 7 and No. 6 on the country and adult contemporary charts in 1967.[8] Later in the year he scored his final top 10 hit with a lowkey cover of Bobby Russell's "Little Green Apples".[1] The next year, he was first to cover Kris Kristofferson's "Me and Bobby McGee,"[6] taking the song to No. 12 on country charts.[8] In 1970, Miller recorded the album A Trip in the Country, honky-tonk-style standards penned by Miller, including "Tall, Tall Trees." Later that year, after Smash Records folded, Miller was signed by Columbia Records, for whom he released Dear Folks: Sorry I Haven't Written Lately in 1973. Later that year, Miller wrote and performed three songs in the Walt Disney animated feature Robin Hood as the rooster/minstrel Allan-a-Dale, including "Whistle-Stop" which was sampled for use in the popular Hampster Dance web site.[1] The other songs are Oo-De-Lally and Not In Nottingham. He provided the voice of Speiltoe, the equine narrator of the Rankin/Bass holiday special Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey in 1977.[9] Miller collaborated with Willie Nelson on an album titled Old Friends. The title track was based on a song he had previously penned for his family in Oklahoma. The song, with guest vocals from Ray Price, was the last hit of Miller's career,[1] peaking at No. 19 on country charts in 1982.[8]

Late career

He continued to record for different record labels and charted a few songs, but stopped writing in 1978, feeling that his more "artistic" works were not appreciated.[2] This was the time when his only visit to England led him to Kippax. He played the social club there but was outdone by 17 Elvis performers. He was absent from the entertainment business following the release of Old Friends in 1981, but returned after receiving an offer to write a Broadway score for a musical based upon Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Although he had not read the novel, Miller accepted the offer after discovering how the story brought him back to his childhood in rural Oklahoma.[10] It took a year and a half to write the opening, but he eventually finished. The work, entitled Big River premiered at Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York on April 25, 1985. The musical received glowing reviews, earning seven Tony Awards including "Best Score" for Miller. He acted the part of Huck Finn's father Pap for three months after the exit of actor John Goodman, who left for Hollywood. In 1983, Miller played a dramatic role on an episode of Quincy ME. He played a country and western singer who is severely burned while freebasing cocaine.[1]
Miller left for Santa Fe to live with his family following the success of Big River. He co-wrote Dwight Yoakam's hit "It Only Hurts When I Cry" from his 1990 album If There Was a Way, and supplied background vocals.[11] The song was released as a single in 1991, peaking at No. 7 on country charts.[12] He began a solo guitar tour in 1990,[1] ending the following year after being diagnosed with lung cancer.[1] His last performance on television occurred on a special tribute to Minnie Pearl[2] which aired on TNN on October 26, 1992, the day after Miller's death.[13]


Although he is usually grouped with country music singers, Miller's unique style defies easy classification. Many of his recordings were humorous novelty songs with whimsical lyrics, coupled with scat singing or vocalese riffs filled with nonsense syllables.[14] Others were sincere ballads, which caught the public's fancy, none more so than his signature song, "King of the Road."[15] The biographical book Ain't Got No Cigarettes described Miller as an "uncategorizable talent", and stated that many regarded him as a genius.[16]
Miller's whimsical lyrics and nonsense sounding style led to him writing and performing songs for children films such as the famous "Oo-de-Lally" for the Disney animated film "Robin Hood".[17] During his most successful years as a songwriter/ singer, Miller's music was placed in the country genre due to his somewhat country/folk sounding voice and the use of an acoustic guitar,[18] although his lyrics were found to be sporadic and random at times. Yet even Miller's lyrics pointed his music toward country because of their having a "bluegrass" ring to them, most commonly found in his most recognizable song, "King of the Road."
On his own style, Miller remarked that he "tried to do" things like other artists but that it "always came out different" so he got "frustrated" until realizing "I'm the only one that knows what I'm thinking." He commented that the favorite song that he wrote was "You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd."[15] Johnny Cash discussed Miller's bass vocal range in his 1997 autobiography. He commented that it was the closest to his own that he had heard.

Personal life and death

Miller was married three times, and fathered seven children. Miller's first wife Barbara bore his first child, Michael, who later died. The couple had three more children subsequent to Michael's death — Alan, Rhonda and Shari.[19] By the time Shari was born, Miller's career was blossoming into national popularity. The family remained in Inglewood for a short time after Miller found fame. The increasing interest in Miller caused struggles for the performer: He suffered from depression and insomnia, and had a drug addiction which contributed to the end of his first and second marriages. Miller was also notorious for walking off shows and fighting.[16]
After the divorce from his first wife,[19] he married Leah Kendrick. She gave birth to two children, Shannon and Dean Miller,[20] who like his father, went on to become a singer-songwriter.[19] The Christmas song "Old Toy Trains" was written by Miller about his son, who was two years old when it was released in 1967.
After divorcing Leah, Miller married Mary Arnold, whom he met through Kenny Rogers.[21] Arnold was a member of The First Edition, a band that included Rogers.[20] They adopted two children: Taylor and Adam. After the break-up of The First Edition, she performed with her husband Miller on tours, including a White House performance for President Gerald Ford. In 2009, she was inducted into the Iowa Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.[21] She currently manages Roger Miller's estate. She sued Sony for copyright infringement in the 2007 case Roger Miller Music, Inc. v. Sony/ATV Publishing, LLC, which went to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.[22] Arnold was ultimately awarded nearly $1 million in royalties and rights to the songs Miller wrote in 1964.[23]
Miller was a lifelong cigarette smoker. During a television interview, Miller explained that he composed his songs from "bits and pieces" of ideas he wrote on scraps of paper. When asked what he did with the unused bits and pieces, he half-joked, "I smoke 'em!" Miller died of lung and throat cancer in 1992, at age 56, shortly after the discovery of a malignant tumor under his vocal cords.[2] His remains were cremated.
A main street in Erick, Oklahoma was named Roger Miller Boulevard in his memory.

In popular culture

  • In 1969, Miller appeared on the television show Daniel Boone as American folk hero Johnny Appleseed. In Miller's version of Appleseed, singing was quite common.[24]
  • In 1987, a rambling, drunken rendition of "King of the Road" was included on R.E.M.'s collection of B-sides, Dead Letter Office (album).
  • The refrain in his song "England Swings" was used in 1998 in BBC Radio program 15 Minutes of Misery.
  • The same song was used in the soundtrack of film Shanghai Knights.
  • In 2007, music of "King of the Road" was used in a scene in the film Into The Wild, where a character in the film makes a mention of the song in writing a letter.
  • He composed and performed a number of songs in the Disney animated film Robin Hood (1973). The Roger Miller song "Whistle-Stop" was whistled by the rooster character Alan-a-Dale. Other Miller songs sung by him included "Oo-De-Lally" in two versions and "Not In Nottingham".
  • The "Hampster Dance" single in 2000 was based on the melody of "Whistle Stop". The Internet meme on which "Hampster Dance" was based used a sped-up version of Roger Miller's recording. The commercial song for Hampton the Hamster was altered to a sound-alike sample when the producers failed to obtain the rights to the original song.
  • On May 14, 2001, in the final episode "Rescue Me" of Baywatch Hawaii, Zach McEwan mentioned Roger Miller's song "My Uncle Used to Love Me but She Died," when talking to his boss. Fellow lifeguard, Jason Momoa, responded by saying, "That's American. Roger Miller."
  • In the 2010 film Jackass 3, Miller's song "You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd" is featured during the stunt which illustrates the song's title.
  • In 2015, his song "Oo-De-Lally" was featured in the popular Android television commercial titled "Friends Furever."

More Music History for March 30, 2017

 1957 -

March 30
Buddy Knox became the first artist in the Rock 'n' Roll era to write his own number one hit when "Party Doll" topped the Billboard chart. Buddy would go on to place four more songs in the Top 40 between 1957 and 1961.

1958 -

March 30
Little Richard had his final US Top 10 hit with a song he had recorded in October, 1956, "Good Golly Miss Molly". The previous Autumn he had given up Rock 'n' Roll and had enrolled at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, to study theology.

1962 -

March 30
The Russian newspaper Pravda warns communist youths about the dangers of dancing the Twist.

1963 -

March 30
16 year old Lesley Gore records her breakthrough hit, "It's My Party". Producer Quincy Jones hurried Gore into the studio when he found out that Phil Spector was going to cut the song with The Crystals. The single would reach #1 in the US and #9 in the UK.

March 30
The Chiffons enjoy the first of their five Billboard Top 40 hits when "He's So Fine" climbs to #1. In the UK, it reached #16.

1964 -

March 30
Former Beatles drummer Pete Best appears on US TV's I've Got A Secret. It only took a handful of questions before the panel guessed his former occupation and when host Gary Moore asked him why he left the group, he said "I thought I'd like to start of group of my own and I thought at that time they weren't going to go as big as they are now."

1967 -

March 30
Cindy Birdsong, formerly of Patti LaBelle's Bluebelles, was asked to fill in for Florence Ballard of The Supremes after Ballard missed a number of shows in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Montreal. Birdsong became a permanent member a few months later.

1969 -

March 30
After having two giant hits with "The Letter" (#1) and "Cry Like A Baby" (#2), The Box Tops' "Sweet Cream Ladies" tops out at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. They would reach #18 later in the year with "Soul Deep", their final Top 40 entry.

1971 -

March 30
28 year old Arlester "Dyke" Christian of Dyke And The Blazers was shot to death in a bar-room altercation. The shooter was arraigned on murder charges but the case was delayed several times and eventually dismissed because of evidence indicating self-defense. The band reached number 35 in 1969 with "We Got More Soul".

March 30
Six months after his death, Jimi Hendrix's album, "The Cry of Love" is certified Gold.

1974 -

March 30
Nine weeks after entering the Hot 100, John Denver's "Sunshine On My Shoulders" goes to #1. John would later say that he wrote the song on a day that it was pouring rain.

1985 -

March 30
Phil Collins started a two week run at #1 on the US singles chart with "One More Night", his second US chart topper. The song reached #4 in the UK.

1989 -

March 30
Gladys Knight performs without The Pips for the first time since grammar school at a show at Bally's in Las Vegas.

1992 -

March 30
The soundtrack to Wayne's World was the number 1 album in the US. It featured the return to the charts of Queen's, "Bohemian Rhapsody", actually making the song a bigger hit the second time around. Tracks by Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Alice Cooper, as well as a new version of "Dream Weaver" from Gary Wright, were also included on the LP.

1994 -

March 30
Pink Floyd played their first concert in more than five years, opening a North American tour before more than 55,000 fans in Miami.

1996 -

March 30
The Beatles had the #1 album on the UK chart with "Anthology 2". It had similar success in America where it topped the Billboard Hot 200 and sold over 1.7 million copies.

2004 -

March 30
Timi Yuro passed away at the age of 62. She began singing in her family's restaurant when she was a child and signed with Liberty Records when she turned 18. During the next five years, Timi reached the US charts nine times, including "Hurt", which climbed to #4 in the US in 1961, as well as "Make The World Go Away" and "What's A Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You)". She was troubled by throat problems throughout her career and retired from performing in the 1970s. In 1981, "Hurt" resurfaced in the Netherlands and went to #1, prompting Timi to return to the stage where she played to sold out audiences across Europe. In 2002 she was diagnosed with throat cancer and an inoperable brain tumor. She died in her sleep at her Las Vegas home.

2005 -

March 30
Neil Young underwent surgery to address a brain aneurysm. He made a quick and full recovery.

2007 -

March 30
A man was arrested after trying to force his way into Paul McCartney's mansion, screaming: "I must get to him." The man, driving at high speeds, burst through security patrols and drove across fields and gardens until he was finally halted by trees and a fence just yards from Sir Paul's six-bedroom home at Peasmarsh. The man fled as teams of police arrived, but gave himself up after a three-mile chase. He was later detained under the Mental Health Act and did not face any criminal charges.

2011 -

March 30
Harper / Collins announced that Billy Joel had decided to back out of a book deal that would have seen him publish his memoirs. Tentively called The Book of Joel, the autobiography was slated to deal with Joel's musical history, his failed marriage to Christie Brinkley, as well as his battles with substance abuse.

March 30
The Australian band Men at Work lost a Federal Court appeal of a ruling which found their 1983 hit single "Down Under" was partly copied from a Folk song called "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree". The decision cleared the way for copyright owners Larrikin Music to claim millions of dollars in unpaid royalties from "Down Under" writers Colin Hay and Ron Strykert.

2012 -

March 30
"Weird Al" Yankovic launched a $5 million lawsuit against Sony Music Entertainment for underpayment of royalties. The case would be settled in December, 2013 in Yankovic's favor for undisclosed terms.

2013 -

March 30
Madonna's homeless brother, Anthony Ciccone, lashed out at his super-star sibling for not supporting him in his times of trouble. Those claims were refuted by a family friend who said that both Madonna and her father have made several attempts to help, but none have been successful.

2016 -

March 30
British musician Andy "Thunderclap" Newman died of unspecified causes at the age of 73. Newman led a self-named band that included Speedy Keen, Jimmy McCulloch and Pete Townshend to #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969 with "Something In The Air".

Today in Music History...March 30, 2017 (Now with links)

Music History: March 30

2013 Phil Ramone (producer for Billy Joel) dies of complications after surgery for an aortic aneurysm in New York, at age 79.

2011 Buffalo Springfield, which split in 1968, announces a reunion tour with original members Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay. The tour lasts seven shows, ending with a performance at Bonnaroo. Another 30 dates are planned, but Young calls it off.

2010 Barenaked Ladies release their ninth studio album, All In Good Time. It's their first album since the departure of co-lead singer Steven Page, who officially left the band in 2009.

2008 Sean Levert

2005 Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica ends its three-season run on MTV as its subjects, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, are on the brink of divorce. The marriage is officially over the following June.

2004 T.I. turns himself in to police after a warrant is issued for his arrest. The rapper is taken into custody for violating the terms of a previous drug arrest in 1997. He is also charged with distributing cocaine, manufacturing and distributing a controlled substance, and giving authorities a false name. In 2004, T.I. was sentenced to three years in jail for the crimes but was able to convert his sentence to a work release program shortly thereafter.

2004 Timi Yuro

2003 Duncan Sheik portrays Bobby Darin and sings "Beyond The Sea" on the "Where The Boys Are" episode of NBC's American Dreams.

1994 In Miami, Pink Floyd begins its last world tour, the Division Bell tour.

1987 Prince releases his ninth album, Sign o' the Times.

1985 Phil Collins scores his second #1 hit as a solo artist: "One More Night."

1979 Norah Jones

1974 "Sunshine On My Shoulders" hits #1 in the US. John Denver would to the charts again that year with "Annie's Song."

1971 Jimi Hendrix's The Cry Of Love is certified Gold, six months after his death.

1968 Celine Dion

1967 The Beatles shoot the cover of their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album at Chelsea Manor Studios in London.

1966 In Paris, 85 rioters are arrested at a Rolling Stones concert.

1964 Tracy Chapman

1963 Lesley Gore records "It's My Party" at Bell Studios in New York. That night, her producer Quincy Jones finds out that Phil Spector has recorded the song with his group The Crystals, so Jones rush-releases it to get Gore's version to radio stations first.

1963 MC Hammer is born in Oakland, California. His birth name is Stanley Burrell, but he is dubbed "Hammer" when he becomes a batboy for the Oakland A's, since he looks like hall-of-famer "Hammerin'" Hank Aaron.

1948 Jim "Dandy" Mangrum (Black Oak Arkansas)

1944 Ronnie Rice (The New Colony Six)

1943 Kenny Forssi (Love)

1941 Graeme Edge (The Moody Blues)

1930 Rolf Harris

1914 Sonny Boy Williamson

1913 Frankie Laine

ODB Picks Up Food Stamps On MTV

1995Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard takes an MTV news crew along for a ride in a stretch limo, where he stops to pick up food stamps, proving that the ID card on the cover of his solo album is real.

Featured Events

1945 Eric Clapton is born in Ripley, England. He forms the bands Cream, Blind Faith and Derek And The Dominos. His birth name is often erroneously reported as "Eric Clapp," as Clapp is the surname of his grandparents who raised him.