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The Mills Brothers

The Mills Brothers, sometimes billed as The Four Mills Brothers, and originally known as The Four Kings of Harmony, were an American jazz and pop vocal quartet of the 20th century who made more than 2,000 recordings that combined sold more than 50 million copies, and garnered at least three dozen gold records.
Exploring the Remarkable Musical Journey of The Mills Brothers
The Mills Brothers was one of the most iconic and influential musical groups of the last century. This quartet, made up of four brothers, created timeless music that transcended genre, time and language barriers. From the early 1930s until the late 70s, their music ruled the airwaves and hearts of millions across the world. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at their extraordinary musical journey, their famous concerts, best songs and the genre they dominated.
The Mills Brothers musical story began in Piqua, Ohio, in 1928, with four brothers: John Jr, Herbert, Harry and Donald. Their unique style of harmonizing became their signature sound as they blended traditional jazz with pop, gospel, and R&B. The brothers also made history by becoming the very first Black musical group to have a radio show. Soon, they became one of the most popular groups in the USA and went on to release dozens of hit songs such as Paper Doll, Glow-Worm, and Cab Driver. Their unique style of scatting and barbershop quartets made them stand out in a crowded musical landscape.
Their music genre was far from ordinary and stood out at a time when jazz and blues were becoming increasingly popular. The Mills Brothers' music blended traditional jazz elements with contemporary swing beats and pop sensibilities, which made them appeal to broad audiences. Their music also featured charmingly vintage harmonies, upbeat tempos, and catchy melodies that any listener young or old could enjoy.
One of their most famous concerts was at the London Palladium in June of 1954, where they performed for a record-breaking 16 nights. Their performances broke the box office and became one of the most iconic concerts of the 1950s. Fans from around the world flocked to see them perform, and their popularity continued to grow.
When it comes to their best songs, it is hard to pick just a few. Some of their most notable songs include Paper Doll, Glow Worm, Cab Driver and Lazy River. Every song they produced had a charm that made it a hit, and their music was a staple in bars, clubs and jukeboxes across the world.
In terms of criticism of their music style and artistic merit, it's important to remember that The Mills Brothers were trailblazers in their approach to music and sung in a unique style that appealed to an extremely diverse audience. While they perhaps may not be considered as artistically prolific as their contemporaries, their presence in the industry during a period of deep-seated racial segregation carried considerable significance.
The Mills Brothers were an extraordinary musical group that broke down barriers of genre and race. They dominated the musical world for decades and left a timeless legacy of music that still resonates with listeners today. Their music will always be remembered as uplifting and joyous, making them one of the most beloved musical acts of their time. As we revisit their music, we appreciate their talent all over again and revel in their timeless melodies and captivating harmonies. The Mills Brothers will forever remain one of the greatest musical groups of all time.



Discovering The Mills Brothers: The Kings Of Vocal Harmony

Before the likes of The Jackson 5 and The Beatles, there was a quartet that paved the way for vocal harmony groups in the music industry. The group was composed of four brothers Harry, Donald, Herbert, and John, also known as The Mills Brothers. Their jazz-style harmonies combined with their unique way of using their voices as instruments made them a legend among their peers. The Mills Brothers’ music has been etched into the fabric of American music, inspiring future musicians and groups. Let’s dive into the story of The Mills Brothers' life and music legacy.

The Mills Brothers came from Piqua, Ohio, a small town in the United States, where their father John Sr. was a barber. The young Mills brothers grew up in a musical household. Their father was an accomplished musician, and the brothers caught the music bug. The brothers' affinity for music started early, with Harry, the eldest brother, being the first to experience the stage, starring in a Nellie Revue production at age seven. The three other brothers followed suit, keeping the family legacy alive. They eventually formed a group and moved to Cincinnati to build their musical career.

The 1930s were the epitome of The Mills Brothers' golden era, with them releasing popular hits like 'Paper Doll,' 'You Always Hurt the One You Love,' and 'Glow Worm.' The group's unique style of harmony singing set them apart from others, earning them multiple gold records and a place in the Guinness World Records as the longest-running vocal group in history. The Mills Brothers’ music inspired a whole new genre of music, making them one of the most influential groups of the 20th century.

One of the notable things about The Mills Brothers is their ability to imitate musical instruments using only their voices in a capella form. The brothers used their vocal chords to whistle, hum, pluck, and strum their way into the hearts of their fans, eventually becoming a true American musical marvel. They had an immense influence on popular music, with artists like The Platters, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and The Ink Spots copying their style, creating a new genre of vocal acapella music.

The Mills Brothers presented a unique blend of jazz, R&B, swing, and gospel, making it difficult to classify their unique music genre. The brothers' style of music was a perfect example of what happens when jazz meets traditional pop music. They were pioneers in the world of harmony groups. Their music had a certain magic that transcended race and geographies - making them one of the world's first global music stars.

In conclusion, The Mills Brothers were an integral part of the music industry's history. Their invention of a new genre of music made them legendary, and it was their musicianship that kept their records captivating over the ages. Their innovative use of their voices as instruments provided a new dimension to a cappella music, which gave birth to an entire genre of music. The Mills Brothers are still hailed as the kings of vocal harmony. Their music continues to inspire and entertain people of all ages and backgrounds. The Mills Brothers' music is a testament to their artistry and brilliance. Their influence continues to be felt long after they have passed on. It's fair to say that The Mills Brothers are truly the grandfathers of vocal harmony.
Tag: The Mills Brothers, musical biography, best songs, playlist
1 - Nobody's Sweetheart
2 - After All
3 - The Glow-Worm
4 - Paper Doll
5 - Tiger Rag
6 - You Always Hurt The One You Love
7 - Till Then
8 - Smoke Rings
9 - Stardust
10 - Across the Alley from the Alamo
11 - St. Louis Blues
12 - Chinatown, My Chinatown
13 - Glow Worm
14 - You Always Hurt The One You Love - Single Version
15 - Lazy River
16 - Moanin' For You
17 - Daddy's Little Girl
18 - How'm I Doin'? (hey! Hey!)
19 - Jungle Fever
20 - The Old Man Of The Mountain
21 - Nevertheless (i'm In Love With You)
22 - Be My Life's Companion
23 - You Don't Have To Be A Santa Claus
24 - I'll Be Around
25 - Cab Driver
26 - Rockin' Chair
27 - Nobody's Sweetheart
28 - I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm
29 - Sweet Georgia Brown
30 - Opus One
31 - You Rascal You
32 - Sweet Sue, Just You
33 - Nagasaki
34 - Basin Street Blues
35 - I Heard
36 - Nevertheless
37 - Here Comes Santa Claus
38 - Out For No Good
39 - I've Found A New Baby
40 - Someday (you'll Want Me To Want You)
41 - Some Of These Days
42 - Goodbye Blues
43 - Bugle Call Rag
1969: Dream
1968: Fortuosity