From Billy Bayou to Oo-De-Lally!
Hailing from Oklahoma, but clearly adopting the 60s Nashville Sound, Mr. Miller had hits with Dang Me and England Swings.
Although no tune came close to being as widespread as his King Of The Road, Roger Miller’s signature song, or maybe there is one…
Before Roger started recording these hits which came from albums between 1964-66, he’d been releasing singles and writing for other artists since the 50s.
His best-performing tune for another artist is the #1 he had in Billy Bayou for Jim Reeves (1958).
In 1969 he recorded Me and Bobby McGee, a tune Kris Kristofferson wrote but Roger recorded first, even before Janis. But that’s not the one everyone knows…
In 1973, Roger Miller had another hit that entered the public consciousness, perhaps even more than King Of The Road, we just don’t connect it with him. It’s Oo-De-Lally from the animated film Robin Hood!
Now that you know, you can hear how it’s got that characteristic Roger Miller melody writing, right?
To understand how Roger pens a hit, analyze:
- The chord progression as Roman numerals
- What intervals of the melody relate to each chord
- The rhythm of the melody
If you don’t want to write hits so you can live in a mansion with a pool and a private tennis court, you should still study his writing and apply it to your solo improvisations.
Again, focus on the three points above since they are the fabric of all music.
Roger Miller tunes | Related pages
King Of The Road
| Bb | Eb | F | Bb |
Trailer’s for sale or rent, rooms to let, 50 cents.
| Bb | Eb | F7 N.C | N.C |
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain’t got no cigarettes.
Me and Bobby McGee
| G | G |
Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin’ for a train.
| G | D |
When I’s feelin’ near as faded as my jeans.