This week’s Top Tune (written by Cy Coleman and Peggy Lee) was recorded in 1972 by what most musicologists regard as the greatest vocal group of the twentieth century, the internationally renowned Mills Brothers. The brothers from Piqua, Ohio went from singing in church and in supper clubs and music halls on the Midwest theater circuit, to being the first African American performing artists to attract a white audience, breaking down racial barriers. Their meteoric rise to stardom began in 1931 after being signed by radio and television magnate, William S. Paley in New York City. The group were the first black musicians to land a commercially-sponsored national radio program.
In the late 1960s, Dean Martin asked his producer Greg Garrison to book the Mills Brothers on The Dean Martin Show, explaining that Harry Mills was his greatest musical influence. The Bee Gees have also cited the brothers as an early influence. Whitburn in his Pop Music, 1890-1954: The History of American Poplular Music, writes that “no other vocal group in history turned out hit records over a longer period of time (1931-1970) than the Mills Brothers”.
This week’s tune appeared on the groups most popular album among the Charlotte North Carolina Rhythm ‘n Beach revival set, A Donut and a Dream, peaking as high as number four during its 13-month chart ride in 1972-1973.
The Mills Brothers were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998, the same year the Recording Academy recognized the Mills family’s contributions to popular music with a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement. The Mills Brothers had an incredible five-decade run of more than 2,000 recordings that sold a combined 50 million copies worldwide.
Contact & Licensing Info
Publishing controlled by Notable Music Co. (ASCAP)(Cy Coleman). Contact: Damon Booth / firstname.lastname@example.org
Administered by Downtown Music Publishing
Contact: Sean McGraw / email@example.com
Publishing controlled by Denslow Music, Inc. Inc (Peggy Lee) / Administered by Universal Music – MGB Songs (ASCAP) / contact: http://www.umusicpub.com/licensingrequests.aspx
Master controlled by Paramount Records/Universal Music Group.