Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Eric Church & More Put Their Spin on Roger Miller's 'King of the Road'
Of his five top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, Roger Miller is certainly best remembered for his highest charting of those, the No. 4-peaking "King of the Road." The good-natured, pop-leaning country tune about a man with few pennies but fewer worries was an instant crossover success and remains one of the most enduring hits of the '60s, covered by everyone from Dean Martin to Randy Travis (who scored a hit version of the song in the '90s).
Now, a new version of the oft-covered song is out, and it features some of the biggest names to ever hit the genre, several of whom performed the song together at the 1995 CMA Awards: Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard (who recorded his verse prior to his death), Dolly Parton and Dwight Yoakam. Additionally, Kris Kristofferson, Eric Church, Travis, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Ronnie Dunn and many more* lend their voices to this irrepressible ode to vagabond life, premiering on Facebook.
This new take hails from the two-disc celebration King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller (Aug. 31) which is designed to shine a light on Miller's underappreciated contributions to country and popular music at large – not to mention his against-the-odds success, coming from a hardscrabble Texas background. Even so, Miller was a quick-witted charmer who made friends well beyond his corner of the music world.
"Roger Miller was one of a kind," his son Dean Miller writes in the compilation's heartfelt liner notes. "He was as comfortable joking with the average person as he was laughing with presidents and queens. He made everyone around him comfortable. You felt like he was your best friend, though his lightning fast mind was miles ahead of everyone in the room."
King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller is out Aug. 31 via BMG, with details about an upcoming TV special coming soon.
*Vocalists on "King of the Road" from King of the Road: A Tribute to Roger Miller:
Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket)
Emmy Lou Harris