Heroes of Popular Culture #27

Christmas with Mitch and the Gang: Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!


swac said...

We had a couple of Mitch Miller albums around when I was a kid, I always found something a bit creepy about those full-on vocals and the lunkheaded 4/4 rhythms.

Then there's his rather wretched treatment of Frank Sinatra and his utter antipathy towards rock and roll ... I can't even imagine how he felt about Columbia signing Bob Dylan.

But I am a sucker for some of those Rosemary Clooney novelty hits. Botch-a-Me!

Of course, not to be confused with Hum Along With Herman.

Tom Sutpen said...

According to the interview which appeared in 'No Direction Home: Bob Dylan' (the doco Martin Scorsese has his name on), Miller claims he just didn't see the point of a label like Columbia, with its pedigree and commercial provenance, signing someone who, by his standards, couldn't sing, and couldn't play anything other than the Guitar and Harmonica; neither of which he could claim any conventional notion of virtuosity.

What I suspect he really meant was that he saw no avenue through which Columbia could shape Dylan into, say, the Jewish Johnny Mathis in the same manner he sought to turn the pre-Atlantic Aretha Franklin into a kind of Black Streisand.

His treatment of Sinatra is legendary; and despite all his later denials, it's pretty obvious he had an immense and very personal dislike for the skinny guy with the Voice and did everything he could to destroy his recording career.

When you think about it, it's a testament to Frank Sinatra's will that he managed to survive, in the same period, not only Mitch Miller's attempts at sabotage, but Louis B. Mayer's as well.