Mitch Miller

Mitch Miller

Birth
Rochester, Monroe County, New York, USA
Death 31 Jul 2010 (aged 99)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend
Memorial ID 55771279 · View Source
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Conductor, Record Producer. He shall probably be best remembered for getting a large television audience to "Sing Along With Mitch" on Friday nights in the early 1960s. Born Mitchell William Miller, he was raised in Rochester, New York and started playing the oboe in school because it was the only "free" instrument available. By age 15 he was performing with the Syracuse Symphony, followed by studies at Rochester's Eastman School of Music, from which he graduated in 1932. After a time with the Rochester Philharmonic, he moved to New York City and gained a reputation as a world-class oboist. Miller was in the orchestra for the 1935 world premiere of Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess", and with the CBS Symphony for Orson Welles' 1938 classic "War of the Worlds" broadcast. He played in several symphonic ensembles and worked as a sideman for Charlie Parker and others. A classical record producer with Mercury in the late 1940s, he was with Little Golden Records briefly, then moved-on to Columbia in the early 1950s. There he made both friends and enemies. Miller was responsible for Tony Bennett's first major hit, 1951's "Because of You", gave Rosemary Clooney's career a large boost by persuading her to record "Come On-a My House", and would help Frankie Laine, Doris Day, Patti Page, Johnny Mathis, and Jo Stafford to success. With others his touch was less than perfect, leading to significant flops for Dinah Shore and Frank Sinatra. (When Sinatra complained about the songs offered, he was reminded that he did have right of refusal on any number). Miller also joined Les Paul to pioneer the use of overdubbing (overlaying of musical tracks), an echo chamber, and other innovations to increase the auditory experience. In the mid-1950s, he and his orchestra produced the first of the 20 best-selling "Sing Along With Mitch" albums of old and popular standards on Columbia, then in 1961 he took the concept to NBC where viewers were invited to "follow the bouncing ball" and sing along while listening to the "Gang". Seen with disdain by many (including sometimes Miller himself), the show gained a loyal following and high ratings. After the program's run ended in 1964, he hosted "Sesamie Street", continued to make occasional records (including a highly regarded 1987 Gershwin disc with the London Symphony) and television specials while appearing as guest conductor of a number of leading orchestras. Though he received a Lifetime Grammy in 2000, he once said of the work for which he was best known: "There's no real artistic satisfaction in this job. I satisfy my musical ego elsewhere".

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 2 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 55771279
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Mitch Miller (4 Jul 1911–31 Jul 2010), Find a Grave Memorial no. 55771279, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.