Roger Miller

With the right combination of artistic brilliance and full tilt self destructiveness, Roger Miller is a hero to me. A long time amphetamine addict, it was the legal and encouraged drug of smoking nicotine that killed him. At his worst, Miller was a country hack; at his best, he was smart and tuneful. And of course, he was wonderfully funny and silly—so silly that he fits right in with the Muppets.

Here he is doing one of his best, King of the Road:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Roger Miller

  1. @frank, hey I meant to respond to the a long time ago, but, well, life kinda got in the way. . .

    anyway, just wanted to comment on this Roger Miller article you wrote here. First, I’ve always enjoyed Miller’s songs, in fact I even liked him for the very same reasons you did-I’ve always had a soft spot for the ol’ pill poppin’, mainlining, hard drinking country/rock-a-billy guys. You definitely do not see the likes of those guys these days.

    Anyhow, I think a particularly apropos song (considering your comments on his death, and a good point) was "Dad Blame Anything A Man Can’t Quit". . .I remember hearing that song and thinking, wow, this guy loved his cigarettes!

    I also wanted to comment on the lyrics to "King of the Road". What I find utterly fascinating are the details of the song. He’s singing about ‘bumming around’, ‘road tripping’, ‘riding the rails’, etc., etc., and mentions certain details which I can’t help but compare to today. For instance, I think a particularly enlightening line (aside from the obvious like: try and find a ‘room to let fifty cents’ anywhere! but the song is old-so I think this next line is more clarifying) when he sings: "Two hours of pushing broom, Buys a 8 by 12 four bit room"-because that says it all right there. I can’t even fathom a time when someone could work a ‘menial labor job’ for a mere couple hours and get ANY place ANY where to sleep! doesn’t that illuminate how difficult and how much more work people put into simply living in the world today. . .and with far, far less profit?

    [As an aside, I remember my uncle told me about a friend of his (in the early 70s) who was still in high school and with a measly part time job, was able to rent an apartment in Manhattan! again, this is mind boggling to me-as the equivalent could never be done in the past twenty years.]

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