Saturday, August 6, 2011

A songwriting son of a gun

It was about this time in 1964 that Roger Miller became a household name, soaring to the top of the Billboard country chart with "Dang Me." It was a crazy song for a crazy time, sandwiched as it was between Buck Owens' "Skip a Beat" and Jim Reeves' "I Guess I'm Crazy."

Miller was probably a touch crazy himself, enabling him to write other novelty hits such as "Chug-a-Lug," "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd" (a personal favorite) and "Do-Wacka-Do." But we cannot forget some of his other less-zany classics like "King of the Road" and "Walkin' in the Sunshine." He was truly one of Nashville's greats.

One mystery surrounding Miller is the origin of "Dang Me," which he claimed he wrote in 4 minutes while holed up in a Phoenix hotel room. But Johnny Cash said the lyrics came to Miller while the buddies were visiting the Joshua Tree in California. Johnny claimed Miller just got out the car with a pencil and paper and "Dang Me" was as good as done.

With both legends long gone we'll probably never know the true story. Either way it's a clever, funny song and you should do yourself a favor today by giving it a listen.

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