SONG OF THE WEEK – “OUR HEARTS WILL PLAY THE MUSIC”

It is barely two weeks until Christmas, and it seemed appropriate to choose something nice and Yule-related for the Song of the Week.  One of the choices I considered was Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains.”*  That reminded me, though, of Miller’s “Our Hearts Will Play the Music,” which is perhaps closer to the way I have been feeling of late (or for many years, for that matter).

Roger Miller was an interesting “country” performer who said it took him 20 years to become an overnight success.  His father died when he was only a year old.  His mother was unable to provide for her three children, so Roger was separated from his brothers and went to live with his aunt and uncle on a small Oklahoma farm.  His cousin’s husband, Sheb Wooley, became a minor celebrity based on his hit song, “Purple People Eater,” and Roger wanted to follow those footsteps.  He ran away from home while still in high school, but was arrested for stealing a guitar.  Rather than go to jail, he was permitted to join the army, where he was assigned to “Special Services” and required to play fiddle.  After his discharge, he moved to Nashville and began song writing.

Some of his songs became hits for other artists, but his performing career was mostly restricted to playing in backup bands for more well-known singers.  What turned out to be his big break came in 1963 when he signed a contract with the relatively new Smash Records.  Smash was a very eclectic label which recorded artists as diverse as Jerry lee Lewis, James Brown, Mother Maybelle Carter, Eric von Schmidt, the Left Banke and Sheep on Drugs (really).  Miller’s first big hit, “Dang Me” was released early the next year.

Also in 1964, he recorded his best known song, “King of the Road,” which was released as a single and on the album, The Return of Roger Miller.  That album included our Song of the Week, “Our Hearts Will Play the Music.”  Miller continued to produce popular songs until Smash Records was discontinued by its parent company, Mercury Records, in 1970.

Miller was known as an eccentric, hard-living, hard-drinking, hard-smoking guy who dashed off his songs quickly and never looked back.  However, in the early 1980s he seemed to become more focused and spent over a year writing the score to a musical called Big River that was based on Mark Twain’s stories of Huckleberry Finn.  The show opened on Broadway in 1985 with Roger Miller playing the role of Huck’s father, Pap, for several months after the original actor, John Goodman, left for Hollywood.

Miller’s unhealthy ways did catch up with him.  He developed a cancer that took his life in 1992, at the age of 56.

Our Hearts Will Play the Music
By Roger Miller

“I don’t like to do things, l don’t like to do
I like to do just what l please
And if that pleases you, then we can make music
Yeah we can make music, to make the rafters ring
Our hearts will play the music for the songs our lips will sing

“I don’t care to go places, l don’t care to go
I like to go just where l please
And if that pleases you, then we can make music
We can make music, to make the rafters ring
Our hearts will play the music for the songs our lips will sing

I don’t like to think things, l don’t like to think
I like to think just what l please
And if that pleases you, then we can make music
We can make music, to make the rafters ring
Our hearts will play the music for the songs our lips will sing
Our hearts will play the music for the songs our lips will sing
Our hearts will play the music for the songs our lips will sing.”

© SONY/ATV MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC

__________________________________________________________

* In the spirit of Christmas, here is a link to “Old Toy Trains,” even though it is not the Song of the Week.

Read more: Roger Miller – Our Hearts Will Play The Music Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

3 thoughts on “SONG OF THE WEEK – “OUR HEARTS WILL PLAY THE MUSIC”

  1. Louis,
    I was reminded that Tracy and I saw Big River at the La Jolla Playhouse in its pre-Broadway premiere. Really liked it. Roger Miller could capture a bit of wisdom with just a few words and a melody, such is the song Husbands and Wives which I first heard done by Brooks and Dunne.
    I enjoy the song of the week, thanks for posting.

    • Roger Miller could also take a tragic situation like realizing you can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd and looking at it from such a perspective that you can still be happy if you’ve a mind to. I am being facetious, of course; but it is just my way of saying that I agree with you.

      I also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge my faulty scholarship. Like most people, I had concerns about Sheep on Drugs. I did a little more research and found that it is a British techno-punk-dance band that was formed in 1990. That being the case, it seems the group could not have recorded for Smash which went out of business in 1970. I dug deeper and learned that the label was acquired by Polygram Records, which used it to issue new material for a few years in the 1990s. You can easily find Sheep on Drugs songs online, but I’m afraid it is not worth the effort.

  2. Pingback: SONG OF THE WEEK - THE BALLAD OF HIGH NOON (DO NOT FORSAKE ME) - ralstoncreekreview.comralstoncreekreview.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *