Friday, August 13, 2010

In Memoriam: Mitch Miller

I was sad to learn of the recent death of renowned musician and conductor Mitch Miller.

From my earliest years I can remember the songs of 'Mitch Miller and the Gang', played by my parents on their valve-driven turntable. Their Christmas carols in particular became part of our household repertoire (not that we ever sang as sweetly as they did!), and I still find myself humming one of their tunes now and then.

Miller disliked rock 'n roll, but produced many rock hits. He established the importance of the producer as a key element in a recording's success, although his own production techniques and ideas were often heavily criticized by others. In his 99 years, he played, sang, conducted, produced, and did just about everything else imaginable in the music business. If there's such a thing as a modern Renaissance Man of music, I guess he came pretty close.

I know my younger readers probably won't recognize his name or his music, but anyone over about 40 years of age must surely have heard him and his 'Gang' over the years. Here are two of my favorites from their vast repertoire.

Rest in peace, Mr. Miller, and thanks for many happy memories.



Old NFO said...

Sad to hear, and yes I remember those same albums...

Sherm said...

Little known but telling fact - Mitch was in the orchestra when Gershwin debuted Rhapsody in Blue in New York.

Rick T said...

He lived in LA and supported our local classical station, KUSC with copies of his albums, both of which are long out of print.

No only was he in the orchestra, he was in the tour band Gershwin took on the road and he spent a lot of time talking with Gershwin and taking notes... He eventually did a recording with the London Symphony that is fantastic.

If you want to get a copy the album listen to KUSC over the Internet ( and wait for the semi-annual fund raisers. They have offered the CDs as donation incentives in the past and I hope they can continue now that Mitch has passed on.

verification word: oblips.. Yes, he sure had a pair of oboe lips!

Rick T