Thanks to Country Showdown for the You Tube.
Now, for a change of pace. We see Roger Miller in the above clip singing the biggest hit of his career. King of the Road. It was a blockbuster hit in 1964 and became a number one record not only in Country but in various other categories. Notice that he introduced scat from Jazz and Blues into Country music. In this video, he is singing it in 1990, two years before his death from lung and throat cancer. You would never think he would be dead in two years; he looks healthy here.
Roger Miller was a unique talent. I mentioned in a post several years ago how Gene Autry had changed Country Music into Cowboy music with his fancy Nudie of North Hollywood suits and hand tooled cowboy boots. Gene Autry suggested that Bob Wills follow suit. By the 1950’s, all the stars of country music wore clothes that were as colorful —garish maybe —as American automobiles were in the 1950’s.
Roger Miller was different. He dressed like he had emerged from a Brooks Brothers magazine ad for men’s clothes. He looked like a Fortune 500 junior business executive. He might have sensed that like the automobile business, by 1960, the customers had had enough of garishly dressed country singers as they had enough of autos with huge tail fins and lurid color combinations. Or, at least he concluded that garish clothes didn’t suit him.
Thanks to NevilleMatheson71 for the You Tube
This is Roger Miller’s Engine Engine Number 9, which was a big hit in 1966
I had originally intended to use a version as performed by Chet Atkins on a tribute program after Roger Miller died. The show included tributes from Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, as well as Chet Atkins who signed Roger Miller to an RCA Records contract.. It also included Roger Miller’s wife and his youngest children—a poignant reminder of our fragile lives. But, I was blocked from using that clip. Maybe its better to hear the man sing and play his own song.
So, I take this as an opportunity to remember a very talented and funny man, Roger Miller. .