About Mitch Miller
Classical musician Mitch Miller became a major figure in 1950s and ’60s American pop music as a bandleader, record executive, and television personality.
∙ He learned to play piano as a child and oboe as a teen, and he graduated from the prestigious Eastman School of Music in his hometown of Rochester, New York.
∙ As a musician for the CBS radio network, Miller played in the orchestra that accompanied Orson Welles’ famously disruptive War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938.
∙ In 1950, he became the head of A&R at Columbia Records, signing such legends as Tony Bennett and Johnny Mathis and giving Aretha Franklin her first major contract.
∙ Miller’s recording career as an orchestra and chorus leader yielded such hits as “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena” and the 1955 chart-topper “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”
∙ His weekly 1960s TV series, NBC’s Sing Along with Mitch, was a precursor to modern-day lyrics videos, with words to the songs scrolling across the bottom of the screen.
∙ In 2000, Miller received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was posthumously inducted into the Rochester Music Hall of Fame in 2013.
BORNJuly 4, 1911