Music Conductor Mitch Miller Dies at Age 99

August 3rd, 2010 - 2:21 am ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Aug 2 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Mitch Miller the music conductor famous for his goatee, straight arm conducting, and “Sing Along With Mitch” campaign on television and in records, died Saturday after a brief illness.Margaret Miller Ruether stated on Monday that her father had passes away over the weekend in Lenox Hill Hospital.

Miller was employed as a key record executive at Columbia Records during the era just before rock and roll came on to the scene, and created music hits with such names as Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, Johnny Mathis and Tony Bennett.

Miller’s famous “Sing Along With Mitch” began as a record series and became a popular ‘NBC’ television show in 1961. His show ranked in the top 20 for the year and kids everywhere were copying his conducting style with stiff arms.Lyric were placed on the screen so that viewers could sing along with the all male chorus which was joined by a few females at times. A bouncing ball led the viewers along in the lyrics.

He didn’t do as well on projects with Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin, however. His collaboration with Sinatra on “Mama Will Bark” which featured a barking dog in the song, was not such a hit with his fans. He had a number one hit in 1965 with “The Yellow Rose of Texas” which made up for much of his misses.

Ruther says her dad died of “just old age.” There will be a memorial service held in the fall for those who wish to honor the man born in 1911 from a Russian Jewish immigrant wrought iron steam worker and a seamstress.

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