Jody Miller

‘Beatlemania’ swept America in 1964, the year in which Jody Miller’s recording career began. The ‘British Invasion’ was in full swing. Even Elvis Presley’s career was on the wane!

Born as Myrna Joy Miller in Phoenix, Arizona, in November of 1941, Jody Miller was raised in rural Oklahoma. In 1963, she move to live in Los Angeles and it was there that she recorded her first hit, “Walk Like A Man”.

Perhaps it was due to the intense competition on the charts at that time or it could have been that the public regarded the recording to be somewhat passe. Whatever the reason or reasons, “Walk Like A Man”, which had been written by Diane Hildebrand, limped to peak at No.66 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The recording fared far better in Australia where it just managed to enter the Top 10.

Although Jody followed “Walk Like A Man” with “They Call My Guy A Tiger”, which received quite a deal of airplay in Australia, it was left to an answer song — to Roger Miller’s “King Of The Road” — “Queen Of The House”, to make Jody known more widely. It rose to No.12, and, in doing so, became her biggest pop hit. The recording also domiciled her as a singer of country when it reached No.5 in that genre.

Because original offerings were so sought after by artists in such a competitive musical environment, Jody became restricted to reviving what had been relatively recent hits, namely “Silver Threads And Golden Needles” by The Springfields, “He’s So Fine” (The Chiffons) and “Baby, I’m Yours” (Barbara Lewis).

There was, however, one other opportunity afforded to her in the form of “Home Of The Brave”, in 1965. The song emerged in the decade of open social revolution and had been written by the highly talented duo of Barry Mann and his wife, Cynthia Weil. As there cannot be rebellion without protestation, songs which expressed grievance became yet another musical facet of this incredibly diverse time.

“Home Of The Brave” will always remain as one of my favourite recordings. In particular, I am attracted to its melody together with Jody Miller’s plaintive, yet forceful, vocals. The songwriters, as I perceive it, incorporate a sneering, almost anti-American stance from the song’s title down and this could account for the fact that the single, laboured in the United States, ceasing to rise above No.25. In Australia it was received more warmly and ascended to peak at No.6.

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