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
May 4, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by his wife Melania, right, and daughter Ivanka, left, as he arrives for a primary night news conference, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Results and story lines from the Indiana primary. Does it cement two pathways to the nominations?

May 4, 2016
Leslie Stahl with her grandchild Jordan. (Courtesy: Leslie Stahl)

Trailblazing journalist Lesley Stahl on her new book Becoming Grandma, and the joys, the science, the struggles, the evolution of being a grandparent today.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 3, 2016
In this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, fifteen-year-old Amorette Castillo has her sensor checked before starting a series of physical activities at a University of Southern California lab in Alhambra, Calif. Scientists across the country are playing with miniature gadgets and fitting them on the overweight and obese to get an unbiased glimpse into their exercise and eating habits. The cell phone for gathering data is on her hip. (AP Photo/Kim Johnson Flodin)

Weight loss lessons from the TV show “The Biggest Loser”. A study of the show’s contestants reveals why it’s so hard to keep off the weight we lose.

 
May 3, 2016
Geri Taylor, camera in tow, at the Hoover Dam in 2014. Photography had been a sideline for 30 years, but now she could really devote time to it.
Courtesy, New York Times. MICHAEL KIRBY SMITH FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES.

We look at how one women prepares for the full onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Devoured: We Are What (And How) We Eat
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From chicken wings to kale smoothies, we look at what we eat, and how challenging it is to eat well in America.

More »
Comment
 
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment