♫ King Of The Road ♫

I am trying to play non-angst-y songs at the moment, just fun songs with no deep, dark hidden meanings, no “Oh woe is me, she left me, how will I survive without her?” sort of things.  Just fun.  For one thing, I’m in need of ‘just fun’.  A reader asked me a few days ago how I stay sane, given the amount of time I spend in the dark world of politics in this, the Reign of Trump.  When I read her question, I was puzzled, for … whoever said I’m sane???  But even so, some weeks are harder on the psyche than others, and the past two have been … hard.  So, let’s have some fun, ‘k?

I am not a fan of country music, but there are some songs by artists whose genre is considered Country & Western that … I just don’t think of as being ‘country’.  Most of Kenny Rogers’ music doesn’t hurt my ears with a country twang, and even some of Willie Nelson’s is much to my liking.  Going waaaaaayyyy back, we have Roger Miller, who was dubbed country, and in truth much of his music was, but some was rather a crossover between mild country and pop.

The girls and I were driving back from the bookstore on Saturday night, and I remembered that I had no more cigarettes, so I would be rolling smokes first thing when we got home, which led me to belt out the line to this song that goes …

No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain’t got no cigarettes

This is, in fact, one of the very few songs that I actually know most all of the lyrics to!  And yes, the girls immediately grabbed their ears and plugged them with their fingers when I started belting out.

Released in 1965, the song tells of a happy hobo lifestyle, with few creature comforts but plenty of freedom.

On Roger Miller’s website, it explains that Miller wrote this song over a 6-week span, beginning on a 1964 Midwest TV tour. He wrote the first verse when he saw a “Trailers for Sale or Rent” sign on the road outside Chicago. A few weeks later, he bought a statuette of a hobo in Boise, Idaho airport gift shop and stared at it until he had completed the song.

Miller has given at least one other explanation for how he came up with the song, however. When he was the co-host on the Mike Douglas Show August 11, 1969, he revealed that the idea for “King Of The Road” came when he was driving in Indiana and saw a sign offering trailers for sale or rent, and it stuck in his mind. Said Miller …

“I was doing a show in a place you have probably never heard of called Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, and I saw a statue of a hobo in a cigar shop were I was staying. I purchased it and took it to my room and wrote the song.”

To further complicate matters, Nashville lore has it that Miller drew inspiration from the “Trailers for sale or rent” sign at Dunn’s Trailer Court, where he lived when he moved from Amarillo to Nashville with his wife and three kids. This was a popular place for aspiring Country singers on tight budgets: Hank Cochran and Willie Nelson both stayed there as well.

Bottom line?  Who knows?  Who cares?  The song won 1965 Grammy awards for Best Contemporary Rock ‘N Roll Single, Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Best Country & Western Recording, Best Country Vocal Performance, and Best Country Song.

King of the Road
Roger Miller

Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain’t got no cigarettes
Ah, but, two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I’m a man of means by no means, king of the road

Third boxcar, midnight train, destination Bangor, Maine
Old worn-out suits and shoes
I don’t pay no union dues
I smoke old stogies I have found, short, but not too big around
I’m a man of means by no means, king of the road

I know every engineer on every train
All their children, and all of their names
And every hand out in every town
And every lock that ain’t locked when no one’s around

I sing, trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain’t got no cigarettes
Ah, but, two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
I’m a man of means by no means, king of the road

Trailers for sale or rent, rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain’t got no cigarettes
Ah, but, two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Roger Miller
King of the Road lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

40 thoughts on “♫ King Of The Road ♫

  1. I remember this song! I really like Kenny Rogers. I listened to more Country when I was younger but I do enjoy going back to the old Country music sometimes. And any music that makes you happy is great! 🙂 Sane? Yes, what is that? LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not a country music fan, but some of Kenny Rogers’ music I just don’t consider country. You’re right … any music that makes you smile and tap your toes is great! Though, admittedly I don’t see how people can be made happy by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, etc. Sanity is not all it’s cracked up to be … I tried it once, but came back over to the fun side soon enough! 🙃

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    • Hmmm … I’ve been tossing about ideas for my music post this evening, and you’ve given me an idea, though I’m pretty sure I’ve played it before. Thanks! This is the first I’ve heard of this Roger Whitaker song … It’s rather sad, but I like it anyway.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, this is a classic song. My kids love Roger Miller as many of his songs are funny, such as “You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd.” I think he has written over 750 songs, many for other artists. “King of the Road” is a vivid storytelling song, such as “buys a four by eight two bit room,”

    Thanks for an excellent ear wotm. By the way, Kenny Rogers started out as a rock-n-roll singer. Remember the line “I just stopped in to see what condition my conditon was in?” Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Keith,
      Though I loved the absurdity of Just Dropped in, my favourite early song by Kenny Rogers was “Ruben James”!
      And I loved the days when rock was country and country was folk and folk was blues and blues was rock, with a lot of other things thrown in. Then along came Janis, and Jimi, and music was never the same…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Reuben James … now there’s one I haven’t thought of in ages! Might have to play it soon. Music evolves, it mirrors society to a large extent. Sadly, I cannot find anything to love about the current evolution, so I stick with my oldies.

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        • They are what we know, but then, except for a few songs, I know nothing about new music. It does nothing for me. One or two singer/ songwriters have talent, but to me it seems popularity is much more important.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I could not even name a current artist or song, but every now and then I get into my daughter’s car and she’s left the radio on, so I hear a brief snippet before I can remember which button to hit to mute it. It all just sounds like noise to me. Well, yeah, given the state of my hearing, most things just sound like noise, if I hear them at all, but … I don’t detect tunes, melody, harmony … just noise.

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    • Aha!!! ‘Bout time I managed to give you an earworm … you’ve managed to give me enough of them! After I got on the Roger Miller kick, I couldn’t get ‘Dang Me’ out of my head … remember that one? “Dang me, Dang me, they oughta take a rope and hang me, High from the highest tree … Woman would you weep for me?” and then that guitar riff. Been singing that all day, much to the consternation of the Feral Five!

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      • Jill, you gave me another one. “Dang me” is more vintage Miller, with its humorous bent. We have a Miller CD that we wore out on long trips. Miller narrared and sang the music to a Disney cartoon movie, I think about Robin Hood with animals in the roles. Keith

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