Appreciating all that makes America special

Singers: The Mills Brothers

John Mills, Jr. died young due to pneumonia complications. So his father, John Sr. took his place in the group. Uploaded by fleamarketmusic.com.

Sometimes the voices of siblings are similar, yet individual enough that when joined together they produce a distinctive sound. Phil and Don Everly. The Osmonds. The Andrews Sisters. But perhaps the smoothest of them all was a group whose popularity stretched over four decades – The Mills Brothers.

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They were discovered by Duke Ellington, who took them to see the great William S. Paley at CBS Radio. Paley was so impressed that he signed them to a contract and made them the first African-American group to host their own radio program.

There were originally four brothers, but one died in 1936. Who would they find with a compatible voice to take the fallen brother’s place? Why not dad? So John Mills, Sr. recorded and toured with his boys until finally deciding to retire in 1957. At that time, the Mills Brothers continued as a trio.

They produced some memorable recordings from the 30s until their last hit in 1968. Memorable songs by the Mills Brothers include “Lazy River”… “Paper Doll”… “Glow Worm”… “Standin’ on the Corner”… “Till Then”… “You Always Hurt the One You Love”… and “Cab Driver.”

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3 Comments

  1. One of my favorite groups ever. I think my favorite Mills Brothers songs are Glow Worm and Lamplighter. Beautiful harmony always. I must have been born 50 years too late, since my favorite artists are from the 40’s and 50’s.

  2. No, you were born at precisely the right time…But you have a mature soul…

  3. Who do we contact to arrange for the guys who are still keeping the show on the road so that we can have them come to Bellefonte, Pennsylvania and present another concert?