Saturday, January 2, 2010

Roger Miller: Syrple Rhymes with Purple!

Born in 1936, Roger Miller would have been 73 years old today!

Roger Miller had a quick-witted mind which permeated everything he did creatively. His songwriting and his performing (singing AND guitar playing) bubbled with an energy which had to be seen to be understood and believed.

Some quotes by Roger:

"I march to the flush of a different plumber."

"Ain't it nice how a chicken can gain all the weight it wants and never shows it in the face?"

"When I was a kid we were so poor we couldn't even afford clothes. When I was 6 my Daddy bought me a hat so I could sit and look out the window."

I'm going to step out of the way and let Roger's music speak for itself. Do yourself a nice favor and take a minute out to view these...your "tapping foot" and "smile on your face" will thank you after.

Ubiquitous "King of the Road"...this time sung with Dean Martin:

A medley of his songs with the Muppet Chickens. "Do Whacka Do", "Dang Me", "My Uncle Used to Love Me, but She Died" and "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd":

Roger also wrote songs for and appeared in a Disney movie - "Robin Hood". Ah for those days when Disney hired folks like Louis Prima, Phil Harris and Roger Miller to do their music and Phil Collins, Elton John and Bill Joel were left on the unemployment line.

Here's "Oo-De-Lally" complete with sing along lyrics:

And the instrumental/scat "Whistle Stop" from the opening. Roger once said that he wrote a song called "Whistle Stop" because if it did well he would open up franchises all across the country. Hell, it worked for Shakespeare with "Hamlet" didn't it?:

Lot's of folks know the song "Me and Bobby McGee. Some know it only as a hit by Janis Joplin, others know it was originally written by Kris Kristoffereson, I think only a few know that it was originally recorded guessed it...Roger Miller:

Finally, here's a reprise of "King of the Road" this time with Johnny Cash. But not without the two old friends screwing around a bit...good stuff:

Roger wrote lots of other great songs too. "Kansas City Star", "Everything's Comin' Up Rose's", "Husbands and Wives", "Old Friends", "England Swings" and on and on.

He passed away in 1992 of lung cancer after a short life of great accomplishments. He wrote the music for the Broadway musical "Big River" and in the 1960's he won 11 Grammy awards, a record he held until Little Michael "The Freak" Jackson-hole broke it with "Thriller" in the 1980's.

Route 66 through his home town of Erick, Oklahoma is renamed "Roger Miller Blvd." and CMA named their songwriting award "The Roger Miller Award" after him posthumously.

But I think the biggest accolade I can give him is...after all these years, his songs still make me smile.

Thanks Roger!

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