Roger Miller

Induction Year: 1973

Birth Name: Roger Dean Miller

Birth Date: 01-02-1936

Place of Birth: Fort Worth, Texas

Death Date: 10-25-1992

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California

Roger Miller was many things. A writer of humorous novelty hits. A heart-wrenching balladeer. An amusing TV raconteur. A multi-instrumentalist. A Broadway composer. But arguably he never achieved the stature in country music that his body of work merited. Perhaps it was because he wasn't easily pigeonholed. As Willie Nelson said, "Roger never did get the recognition for being the writer that he really was."

The youngest of three boys, Roger Miller lost his dad early on. His mom, unable to provide for her sons, sent Roger to be raised by his aunt and uncle in the small town of Erick, Oklahoma. By his account, he was an unhappy child. He picked cotton on his uncle's farm. He daydreamed. And he quit school after eighth grade to become a ranch hand. When one of his cousins married Sheb Wooley, the singing comedian took Miller under his wing, teaching him guitar and fiddle. Soon he was playing piano, banjo and drums too.

As a teenager, Miller served stateside in the Army, then moved to Nashville. He cut a few unsuccessful singles starting in 1957. He toured as a fiddle player for Minnie Pearl, then as a drummer for Ray Price. In 1958, Price gave Miller his first big break, recording "Invitation to the Blues," which became a #3 country hit. Other songwriting hits quickly followed.

By the early 1960s, Miller was honing his performing skills, mixing wacky wordplay songs with honky-tonk ballads. When "Dang Me" went #1 country, it started a three-year golden period that included his signature hit "King of the Road," headline gigs in Vegas, 11 Grammy Awards and his own NBC-TV series. Miller loved the success and money. Maybe a little too much. From the Lear jet he flew around the country to the pills that kept him up for days at a time, he indulged.

By the early '70s, both his songwriting and his recording career had stalled. Still in demand as a performer, he played Vegas and did talk shows. He opened a hotel in Nashville. He wrote songs for a Disney cartoon movie of Robin Hood.

Miller came back strong in 1985, writing the score to the Tony Award-winning hit Broadway musical Big River. It was his career's crowning achievement. He died in 1992. His honors include election to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995.
 

"Big Harlan Taylor"

George Jones1959 #19 country
Roger Miller1965 
Justin Tubb1969 
 

"Billy Bayou"

Jim Reeves1959 #1 country, #95 pop
Roy Drusky1964 
Roger Miller1966 
Kitty Wells1966 
Del Reeves1966 
 

"Chug-a-Lug"

Roger Miller1964 #3 country, #9 pop
Del Reeves1970 
Kentucky Headhunters2009 

"Dang Me"

Grammy Award for Best Country Song

Roger Miller1964 #1 country, #7 pop
Johnny Rivers1964 
Buck Owens1964 
Jim Ed Brown1968 
Buddy Miller2011 
 

"Do-Wacka-Do"

Roger Miller1964 #15 country, #31 pop
 

"Don't We All Have the Right"

Roger Miller1970 
Ricky Van Shelton1987 #1 country
 

"Engine Engine #9"

Roger Miller1965 #2 country, # 7 pop
Del Reeves1965 
Joe Tex1968 
 

"England Swings"

Roger Miller1965 #3 country, #8 pop
 

"Half a Mind"

Ernest Tubb1958 #8 country
Goldie Hill1962 
Jean Shepard1964 
Roy Drusky1964 
Loretta Lynn1965 
George Hamilton IV1965 
Joe Tex1966 
Roger Miller1970 
Skeeter Davis1973 
 

"Home"

Jim Reeves1959 #2 country
Red Foley1962 
Jerry Lee Lewis1962 
Leroy Van Dyke1964 
Roy Drusky1964 
Roger Miller1966 
Del Reeves1966 
Justin Tubb1969 

"Husbands and Wives"

Roger Miller1966 #5 country,#26 pop
Al Martino1966 
Roy Drusky1967 
Neil Diamond1971 
Everly Brothers1972 
David Frizzell & Shelly West1981 #16 country
B. J. Thomas1986 
Brooks & Dunn1998 #1 country,#36 pop
Raul Malo2007 
 

"I've Been a Long Time Leavin' (But I'll Be a Long Time Gone)"

Roger Miller1966 #13 country
Waylon Jennings1975 
Joey Martin1978 #92 country
Toby Keith2010 
 

"In the Summertime (You Don't Want My Love)"

Roger Miller1960 #14 country
Teresa Brewer1961 
Skeeter Davis1965 
Bill Anderson1966 
Sammi Smith1976 
 

"Invitation to the Blues"

Ray Price1958 #3 country, #92 pop
Red Sovine1961 
Patti Page1962 
Roger Miller1970 
Reba McEntire1977 
Willie Nelson1982 
Andy Lee Smith1989 #71 country
 

"It Only Hurts When I Cry"

(written with Dwight Yoakam)

Dwight Yoakam1992 #7 country
 

"Kansas City Star"

Roger Miller1965 #7 country, #31 pop

"King of the Road"

Grammy Award for Best Country Song

Roger Miller1965 #1 country, #4 pop
Dean Martin1965 
David Houston1965 
Julie London1965 
Jerry Lee Lewis1965 
Joe Tex1965 
Billy Preston1965 
Johnny Paycheck1966 
The Statler Brothers1966 
Tennessee Ernie Ford1966 
George Jones1966 
Jim Ed Brown1968 
R.E.M.1984 
Johnny Russell1989 
The Proclaimers1990 
Randy Travis1997 #51 country
Rufus Wainwright & Teddy Thompson2005 
 

"Lock, Stock and Teardrops"

Roger Miller1963 #26 country
Waylon Jennings1968 
Diana Trask1968 #70 country
Don Gibson1969 
Roy Drusky1970 
k. d. lang1988 #53 country
 

"Million Years or So"

Eddy Arnold1963 #13 country
Roger Miller1967 
Charlie Louvin1969 
 

"My Ears Should Burn (When Fools Are Talked About)"

Claude Gray1961 #3 country
Roger Miller1970 
 

"One Dyin' and a Buryin'"

Roger Miller1965 #10 country, #34 pop

"River in the Rain (from the musical Big River)"

Roger Miller1985 #36 country
 

"Tall Tall Trees"

(written with George Jones)

George Jones1961 
Roger Miller1970 
Alan Jackson1995 #1 country
 

"That's the Way I Feel"

(written with George Jones)

Faron Young1958 #9 country
George Jones1959 
Roger Miller1970 

"The Last Word in Lonesome Is Me"

Roger Miller1965 
Eddy Arnold1966 #2 country, #40 pop
Dottie West1969 
Sammi Smith1971 
Terry Bradshaw1976 #90 country
 

"Walkin' Talkin' Cryin' Barely Beatin' Heart"

(written with Justin Tubb)

Johnny Wright1965 
Justin Tubb1966 
Highway 1011990 #4 country
 

"Walkin' in the Sunshine"

Roger Miller1967 #7 country, # 37 pop
The Statler Brothers1967 
Sammi Smith1976 
 

"When Two Worlds Collide"

(written with Bill Anderson)

Roger Miller1961 #6 country
George Jones1962 
Jim Reeves1962 
Jean Shepard1964 
Dottie West1965 
Ernest Tubb1965 
Roy Drusky1968 
John D. Loudermilk1968 
Jim Reeves1969 #6 country
Jerry Lee Lewis1980 #11 country
 

"When Your House Is Not a Home"

Jimmy Dickens1959 
George Jones1964 
Don Gibson1965 
Jean Shepard1967 
Roger Miller1970 
Connie Smith1971 
Willie Nelson1982 
 

"World So Full of Love"

(written with Faron Young)

Faron Young1961 #28 country
Roger Miller1970 

Roger Miller

Induction Year: 1973