PLEDGE NOW
How Mitch Miller Invented Pop Music

Music producer and sing-along man Mitch Miller died this weekend at 99. We talk about how he shaped the modern pop record and changed musical history.

Conductor Mitch Miller amid members of the International Trombone Association, May 5, 1979 in Boston. Miller died July 31, 2010. (AP)

Mitch Miller died this weekend at 99.

Many know him for his television sing-along shows – as a goateed face on the tube commanding you to “come on and sing!” But Miller was much more. As an influential producer in the 50s and 60s, he shaped the careers of singers like Tony Bennett, Johnny Matthis, Rosemary Clooney and more. Also Patti Page and Leslie Uggams, who will join us – as we look at how Miller changed the musical landscape forever.

This hour, On Point: Mitch Miller, the man behind the music.

- Jane Clayson

Guests:

Elijah Wald, music historian and critic. Author of “The Blues: A Very Short Introduction,” “How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘n Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music,” and many other books. Has written for the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. He has recorded two albums as a blues guitarist.

Will Friedwald, music historian and critic. Writes for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Sun, and many other publications. His new book, “A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz & Pop Singers” will be released in November. He’s also author of “Sinatra! The Song is You, A Singer’s Art” and he collaborated with legendary singer Tony Bennett on his autobiography, “The Good Life.”

Leslie Uggams, actress and singer. As a regular on Mitch Miller’s “Sing Along With Mitch” program on NBC, she was the first African American performer to be featured on a national prime-time television series. She’s also well-known for her Tony award winning performance in the 1967 musical “Hallelujah, Baby,” and her leading role in the miniseries, “Roots.”

Patti Page, legendary American singer – known for hits like “With My Eyes Wide Open, I’m Dreaming,” “Tennessee Waltz,” and “Old Cape Cod.” The top-selling female artist of the 1950s, she worked closely with Mitch Miller, who produced many of her early songs.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Aug 31, 2015
A television photographer takes video of a memorial for the two slain journalist in front of the studios of WDBJ-TV7 in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward from the station were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday.  (AP)

Lessons from the Roanoke TV shootings. We’ll look at the way forward with the New York Times’ Nick Kristof and other top thinkers.

Aug 31, 2015
While the jury still deliberates, former St. Paul's School student Owen Labrie, left, leaves the Merrimack Superior Court at the end of day with security in tow Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Concord, N.H.  Labrie was convicted by a jury of several misdemeanors, but ruled not guilty in the most serious felony sexual assault charges. (AP)

A verdict in the New Hampshire prep school rape trial. And calls for changing sexual assault laws.

RECENT
SHOWS
Aug 28, 2015
Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

A legendary natural sound collector shares his recordings. We’ll listen in.

 
Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A deadly shooting on live TV. Wall Street’s roller coaster ride. Biden considers a White House bid. 10 years since Katrina.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments
 
Do You Recognize Amazon’s Workplace Culture? Tell Us!
Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015

Do you recognize the workplace conditions described in a recent New York Times piece on Amazon? We want to hear from you!

More »
5 Comments