The Mills Brothers have always been my favorite group of all
The Mills Brothers Today
play button below to enjoy the 1/9/11 interview with John Mills.
Over 2 hours!
What began over 75 years ago as an astonishingly original vocal group
has grown into one of the most long-lasting and beloved acts in American popular music. The magic of The
Mills Brothers continues today under the leadership of John Mills -- the son, grandson and nephew of the original
The new generation of The Mills Brothers also features the vocal prowess and
compelling stage presence of Elmer Hopper, who spent nearly two decades as a member of The Platters.
Together, the duo captures the inimitable sound of the original group as they recreate hit songs like
“Cab Driver,” “Glow Worm,” “Lazy River,” “Yellow Bird,” “Basin Street Blues,” “Opus One,” “Paper Doll,” “You
Always Hurt the One You Love,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and more.
The Mills Brothers began as a novelty act, debuting at the Mays Opera House in
Piqua, Ohio. Thanks to their distinctive harmonies, the group went on to sell tens of millions of recordings,
and posted a hit each year between 1935 and 1947. They received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement
The Mills Brothers’ eloquent musicianship lives on, and continues to pack
performing arts centers worldwide.
My personal and special meeting with The
I had the opportunity to see them live in 1981 when I was 17. Only because I
was able to push my way into backstage at the Westbury Music Fair because I was lucky to have a radio show with
WGBB 1240AM Freeport Long Island, NY at that time.
I got to see them and Harry Mills gave me an interview!
This was a special night for me as I couldn't believe I was somehow being
allowed backstage access at this famous place. I made sure I had
my 78's with me so I can have them autographed!
Unfortunately, I either forgot or lost my white grease pensil for the 78
autographs. I went nuts. But somehow, by the grace of God, I found a small piece of chalk on the floor backstage
which had to suffice. That night was one of the most magical nights
I now know who I met that
evening after recently reading the inscription on my signed 78 and remembering how that night
I now remember who I met
that night who was enjoying a cig out the back door from the dressing rooms who was gracious enough to
autograph the 78. It was Donald Mills!
was 17 so I lit one up too! I couldn't believe where I was. This was so magical. I stood there frozen hoping I can be okay and not be asked to leave for some reason.
For lack of a better description... this was the man with the velvet
voice! How else can you decribe it. Amazing! My idol. No one can copy or match it. Yet I stood there
not knowing anything else except knowing I was standing there with one of The Mills
But this guy was so cool and so
wonderful, just as I envisioned he would be. I was speechless. A very special moment in my
life to say the
I remember this wonderful man
asking me if it would be okay if he signed his brother Harrys name on the record since he was having sight
problems at the time. Wow!
What could I say except of
course and he did just that. What a great guy!
He then directed me to make
sure I go back into the dressing room and tell Herbert that they all signed the record, and when he gets a
chance to also sign it.
terrified! How could
I... a17 year old, go
into a room and give orders to a Mills Brother who was one of my idols. It was very tough to say the
And when I got there he was
sitting on a couch talking to people. Am I supposed to be rude and break into a conversation with one of The
The best I was able to do was
try to interrupt the conversation he was having and place the record in front of him on a table and mention
that everyone signed it and if he can also sign it we'd apprecite it. Then I stepped back into the
I kept looking every few
seconds to see if he leaned over to sign it but he never did.
About about 20 minutes later
Donald walked by in the hallway and asked if his brother signed it and I said I'm not sure and that he probably
He walked in and picked the
record up and handed it to Herbert and he signed it and this is the record that has been with me ever
Obviously I will never forget
this. These guys are great!
Once again I am sorry it is in
chalk, but the chalk that night was my savior.
Here is the now the famous
autographed 78 of The Mills Brothers that I have spoken about for over 30 years.
Let me write below the inscription as it might
be tough to read on the scan, or even in person...
One of my prize
Myself with The Mills Brothers at The Lyric
1/13/11 they performed at The Lyric Theater in Stuart, FL and they
were magnificent! The love for these guys was
overwhelming. John Mills also gives an oral tribute and
history of The Mills Brothers that is outstanding.
Between the amazing Mills Brothers vocal arrangements and the full
orchestral backdrop, a special evening will always be in
store. They are and always will be the best! The Mills
Brothers... gotta love 'em!
Watch The Mills Brothers Sing Paper Doll with Dean