Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Roger Miller born

January 2nd, 1936

On this day in 1936, musician Roger Miller was born in Fort Worth. He had no formal musical training and apparently never learned to read or write music. After service in the army, during which he entertained troops in a Special Services country-music band, he moved to Nashville, where he did odd jobs and played in back-up bands for such entertainers as Minnie Pearl and Ray Price. After Miller won a contract as a drummer with the Faron Young organization, other performers began singing his songs. In 1961 he first made the country top ten as a performer with "When Two Worlds Collide," co-written with Bill Anderson. He moved to Hollywood, where his singing career took off in 1964. "Chug-a-lug" and "Dang Me" were hits in both country and pop categories. The next year Miller scored a series of bestsellers: "King of the Road," "Engine, Engine No. 9," "Kansas City Star," and "One Dyin' and a-Buryin'." NBC featured Miller in his own weekly variety show, which fared well in 1966 but subsequently lost out in the ratings and was cancelled. Miller won eleven Grammy awards, both as composer and performer, in the categories of contemporary and country and western. In 1985 he received five Tony awards for his score to Big River, a musical based on Huckleberry Finn. He died in Los Angeles on October 25, 1992.

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