It was a harsh beginning for Roger Dean Miller, born in Fort Worth, Texas during the depression, January 2. 1936. Fatherless and separated from his mother and two older brothers at just one year of age, it would be a very difficult childhood.
Living with his relatives in Oklahoma, Roger’s escape from a lonely and unhappy childhood came from listening to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio, learning to play a guitar and cultivating a talent for songwriting. Joining the army at 17 years of age, after serving in Korea he was discharged and headed straight to Nashville in search of a career in music.
Taking a job as a hotel bellhop, the multi-talented Roger Miller began to open doors that would lead to his becoming a renowned songwriter and a chart topping singer with several gold records on the Hit Parade, a Tony and numerous Grammy awards to his credit.
As a songwriter, Roger wrote hits for dozens of recording artists including, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young, Jim Reeves, Ray Price and Andy Williams.
Signing a recording contract with RCA Victor in 1960, Roger had limited success with three singles. His luck would change when Nashville’s Mercury records head, Shelby Singleton, would have Roger sign with the company’s new Smash Label.
Written by Roger, “Dang Me” was on both the country and pop Hit Parade in 1964. Two more of his creations, “Chug-A-Lug” and “Do-Wacka-Do repeated his success in the same year. In 1965 Roger hit with his milti-million seller, “King of the Road” and followed with “Engine, Engine #9,” “Kansas City Star” and “England Swings.”
Among other Roger Miller hits, “Husbands and Wives,” “Walkin’ In the Sunshine,” “Little Green Apples,” and “Me and Bobby McGee.
In addition to eleven Grammy awards, Roger also won Broadways prestigious Tony Award for writing the scote of the musical “Big River.”
A lifetime cigarette smoker, Roger died of lung and throat cancer on October 25, 1992. He was 56 years of age.