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Mitch Miller

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Sherry and I were eating earlier today in a restaurant where the background music was mostly Sinatra.

"My mother used to listen to Sinatra," I said. "My father used to listen to Mitch Miller."

I immediately got an idea for a blog post involving two pictures: one of Mitch Miller, the other of Mitch Mitchell. The post would explain how only one of them played drums for Jimi Hendrix. It would be in keeping with what I've been posting lately.

So when we got home, I hunted down images of Mitchell and Miller and posted.

A little while later, in one of my regular checks of The New York Times Web site, I was surprised to find a story about Mitch Miller's death at age 99. Talk about weird timing. It didn't seem right to leave the original post up, so I deleted it in favor of these musings. (Here's the story)

I don't know how many hours of Mitch Miller I was exposed to while growing up, but I can only remember snippets of lyrics from just one song. As I recall, the song began like this:

Drunk last night
Drunk the night before
Gonna get drunk tonight like I
Never got drunk before
For when I'm drunk I'm as happy as can be ...

A little later in the same song, I recall these words:

One keg of beer for the four of us.
Glory be that there are no more of us
For one of us could drink it all alone.

It's difficult to imagine any singer or vocal group releasing a song with lyrics like that today. The words would spark a roaring debate about whether they encouraged drinking and alcoholism. But the early '60s were far, far different times, and chances are if you can recall records being available in "hi fi" as well as stereo, then you heard a little Mitch Miller while you were growing up too.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 3rd, 2010 03:23 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting this. When I was 4, I was a big fan of Mitch. Funny thing is that I never stopped listening to "the gang." Somehow, I felt like a part of my childhood was taken from me today. Nice thing is that I got to attend many lectures and concerts he did while I was an adult so I got to get my fix. I've always told my son to make sure and meet the people he admires, as you only usually get one chance.....why live a life of REGRETS.
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC)
I was so young when we listened to Mitch Miller records that I thought he was the only person singing.

It wasn't until I finished the Times piece that I realized he was much more than a musical punch line.

And that's great advice you're giving to your son. I still smack myself about the musicians I always decided to see "next time" they came around: Bob Marley, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Warren Zevon, to name just three.
Aug. 3rd, 2010 01:29 pm (UTC)
Roll out those
lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
those days of soda, and pretzels and beer...

There does seem to be a prevailing theme of alcohol consumption, doesn't there?
Aug. 3rd, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
I think somewhere in his oeuvre is a song about red wine and Twizzlers.
Aug. 4th, 2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
A perfect combination to celebrate with song. I especially love the verse about mascara remover and stained lips.
Aug. 4th, 2010 07:52 pm (UTC)
A few years ago I spotted a Mitch Miller and the Gang Christmas CD and I grabbed it immediately - I was SO excited to liten to it and play it for the girls so they could experience a little piece of my childhood. Alas, there were WOMEN singing as part of the "Gang." I was appalled - it just seemed so wrong. I am not a member of the Potts Family (For the Potts family is the best family, that ever came over from old Germany. There's the Rotterdam Pottses and the Pottsdam Pottses....) but I know there should not be women singing with the Gang. av
Aug. 4th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
That. Ain't. Right.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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