Sunday, March 21, 2010

Here's To You, Mrs. Miller

Have you ever heard of the fabulous Mrs. Elva Miller (1907-97)? In the mid 1960s she had a brief period of fame for singing all sorts of well-known pop songs and absolutely making them her own. She sings like no one else I have ever heard.

She was discovered around 1960 through a self-financed single she made. She was featured on Garry Owens' radio show after that (he produced Laugh-In in the late 60s) and was signed to Capitol Records in 1965.

She had a brief period of popularity due to her singing being so - unique. At first of course the poor lady thought she was being heralded for her good diction, but to her credit, once she realized that her fame was for other reasons, she went along with the joke and deliberately missed the beat. But as the Wikipedia article says, "she was capable of skipping beats and missing cues all by herself," too.

She put out several albums, which include her interpretation of Beatles songs like "A Hard Day's Night" and "Yellow Submarine." She did quite a version of "Downtown," the 1966 Petula Clark hit. And a stunning version of "These Boots Are Made For Walking."

There are some good clips over at YouTube. It was very hard to choose which ones to present here. Seriously, Mrs. Miller is amazing. Here is her unique interpretation of "A Hard Day's Night":

And here's "Let's Hang On," originally sung by Frankie Valli:

Album cover is from Frank's Vinyl Museum.


Eric said...

Haha! This is great, William Shatner has nothing on her. Say Mrs. Miller, what's in those brownies on the tray?

KiKi said...

I. Am. In. Love!

vanilla said...

A piece of our culture that I had missed.

I am blessed.

Tori Lennox said...

At first, I thought maybe she was Mrs. Glenn Miller. *g*

RE - Entrepod said...

oooooooo man, mrs miller. this brings back so many memories. I loved mrs miller. her yellow submarine is the best.

RE - Entrepod said...

actually I must say that I think her biggest hit was Strangers In The Night. it still takes my breath away.

there is only One Mrs. Miller.
wowwww,, class baby class.
this still rocks my house.
she could give dean martin a run for his money any day with this one. wowwww..

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

LOL, now that Ive never seen! Thats a riot and a joy :)

wngl said...

Those must be "magic" brownies! I imagine that picture was taken on-stage at her local Bingo hall.

This is the kind of talent that is best described as "raw".

Lidian said...

Eric - Something really good!

KiKi - I know, isn't she great?

vanilla - This was a lucky find for me :)

Tori - Hardly! lol

RE - She really does rock the house!

Tracy - This brightened my day considerably, I must say!

James - She does look like the bingo type.

Bill said...

What's the matter, Bill? Cat got your tongue?

Bill: (speechless)

Janna said...

Oh my goodness....

So many adjectives come to mind. :o

Pam@GoRetro said...

Oh wow, I wrote about Mrs. Miller on my own blog some time ago...however, I think it's time I gave her another post considering I have more followers now! She really did believe that she was a good singer and actually always maintained that the studio did things to make her sing off key and appear worse on record. There was a debate as to whether the record company was in on the joke or not. But I must admit, her singing always makes me laugh and that makes me feel good.

Cari Hislop said...

I can't believe I've never heard of her! That was hilarious!!! It brings back memories of a woman I knew growing up who thought she was the best singer in the town. She had the same awful off-key operatic style only she wasn't funny. I will have to go look up Mrs to buy!!!
Thanks for the laugh.