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KING OF THE ROAD (song)

King of the Road (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“King of the Road”
Single by Roger Miller
from the album The Return of Roger Miller
B-side “Atta Boy Girl”
Released January 1965
Recorded 1964

Genre Country
Length 2:28
Label Smash
Writer(s) Roger Miller
Producer(s) Jerry Kennedy

“King of the Road” is a 1964 song written and originally recorded by country singer Roger Miller. The lyrics tell of the day-to-day life of a vagabond hobo who, despite being poor (a “man of means by no means”), revels in his freedom, describing himself humorously as the “king of the road”. It was Miller’s fifth single for Smash Records.

The popular crossover record hit No. 1 on the US Country chart, No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 1 on the Easy Listening surveys. It was also No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, and in Norway. Miller recalled that the song was inspired when he was driving and saw a sign on the side of a barn that read, “Trailers for sale or rent”. This would become the opening line of the song.

The song has been covered by many other artists, including George Jones, Dean Martin, Val Doonican, Jack Jones, James Booker, The Fabulous Echoes, Boney M., R.E.M., Johnny Paycheck, Glen Campbell, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Boxcar Willie, Randy Travis, Rangers, James Kilbane, John Stevens, the Statler Brothers, Rufus Wainwright & Teddy Thompson, Giant Sand, Peligro, The Proclaimers, Ray Conniff Singers, The Reverend Horton Heat, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Joe Strummer during live performances. James “The King” Brown (an Elvis impersonator) performed the song for a 2001 Audi commercial on German TV. Of R.E.M.’s version, a shambolic, drunken, offhand rendering, guitarist Peter Buck would later comment, “If there was any justice in the world, Roger Miller should be able to sue for what we did to this song.”