presents...

Mrs. Miller's Greatest Hits

Oh, the humanity!

I've spent a lot of time contemplating the mystery of Mrs. Elva Miller from Claremont, California. I have to conclude that her recording career is one of the cruelest practical jokes ever devised by the record industry.

For the most part, the flubs on Frank's Vinyl Museum are the result of serious artists and serious record producers badly missing the mark. Mrs. Miller's album is definitely over the top, but I get the very sinister feeling from the liner notes that while Miller herself may have been completely serious about what she was doing, whoever coaxed her to make this album was laughing on the inside, and probably egging her on to be even more extreme. The sarcasm is very subtle, just enough to give the wink to record collectors like us while keeping poor Mrs. Miller in the dark. References to her "impeccible diction" and "scintillating delivery" abound, as well as the accolade "one of the most interesting voices extant... one that brings to mind the tonal qualities of a Florence Foster Jenkins or a Mrs. B. J. Fangman". Jane Morgan's Fresh Flavor LP, featured elsewhere on this site, contains similar sentiments, but at least she can lay claim to some prior recording history.

I almost feel bad for exploiting Mrs. Miller this way, but once you listen to her songs, you'll know why her fans can't resist her. Enjoy!

Mrs. Miller's Greatest Hits
(click picture to magnify)
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Songs:

Downtown (MP3) Brace yourself for the best rendition of 'Downtown' ever!
A Hard Day's Night (MP3) Beatle butchering at its very best.

See Also: Fresh Flavor

Your Comments:

tim (timjukkmann@yahoo.com) says:
Apparently the producers at Capitol deliberately tried to make the recordings worse, by conducting her a half a beat off, and even made several takes of songs, but only selecting the worst takes for the record. Mrs. Miller figured out the gag and went along with it, to her credit. (04-30-2012)

Delia Jean Streefkerk says:
This seems to be the 1970s version of Jan Terri, who can't sing either.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE2l6CPna4M (08-18-2010)

John says:
I was wondering who this Mrs. B.J. Fangman is also but have not been able to find anything other than references back to Mrs. Miller's album. If anyone has any information please share. (04-21-2010)

Bob says:
Florence Foster Jenkins is, for those who may not have been aware, a wealthy socialite from the early 20th century who got it into her head that she was quite a good singer, all evidence to the contrary (such as people laughing uproariously at her recitals) not withstanding.

I'm not sure who Mrs. B.J. Fangman might be... anyone have any clues? (01-30-2010)

Dean says:
Mrs. Miller doing a cover of Wesley Willis' greatest hits would be such a hoot. Just picture her crooning her way through I Whipped Superman's Ass, The Termites Ate My House Up, or that thought-provoking favourite, Kris Kringle Was A Car Thief. A wormhole in space would open up at the sheer awesomeness. (03-31-2009)

Rodney Stone (rodney@cpmedia.biz) says:
You can read the inside scoop of Mrs Miller from a book titled Between Wyoming written by Ken Mansfield an Executive at Capital Records during the 60s.
It's an amazing book & gives an entire chapter to yours truly. It all began with a Inspirational choral arranger by the name of Fred Bach who passed away about 8 years ago. (11-14-2008)

Thomas Stokholm says:
Her singing reminds me a bit of Hyacinth Bucket from the TV-series.
Known her for some years now but my friends really dont dig her style :-)Still i cant help playing a number or two with her when we get together for some beers. Fun. (08-26-2008)

kayo (wpos2 att roadrunnerdot com) says:
Mrs. Miller, I'm sure, was a nice lady, so I feel bad even mentioning this, but to compare her singing to the aborted fetus of Dick Cheney on crack would be kind. After hearing the 2 samples from her album (her first album of about 3, which was her greatest hits album!), I lost all interest in music, sex, and breathing for the rest of the night. Yes: it was that bad. Fingernails on chalkboard never seemed so appealing before this. The only thing that prevented me from paying Halliburton to put my head in a vise sandwiched between 2 land mines is the sweet voice of Maureen McCormick elsewhere on this Web site inviting me to her sugar shop. Bubble gum pop has never been so crucial to quality of life. (08-08-2008)

David (piercydavid@hotmail.com) says:
Capitol did the right thing by releasing so many songs by Mrs. Miller...sounds great in stereo! Long live Mrs. Miller's singing! (03-08-2008)

Vern C (ghucit@networld.com) says:
I remember a DJ at KCPX AM (Skinny Johnny Mitchell) in Salt Lake City that would play a recording of Mrs Miller singing Happy Birthday to the audience. Even though I was young, I loved that voice and would sing like her from time to time. A friend of my family was the male version of her and would bring up laughter from all. I am greatful for the modern age to remember the people from the past and the music of a long ago era. Mrs Miller is a gem of those days and will be missed by the music world.

Side note Can you picture Mrs Miller doing RAP. It would be hilariously memorable. (07-26-2007)

haywood jablomy says:
The record producers were to blame for making Mrs. Miller sound worse than she was. The orchestra would deliberately play a beat off, or out of tempo, and when Mrs. M. tried to catch up, the conductor would go off again. Of course, the worst take of each song was selected for the records. (07-17-2007)

Mike Govette (mike@eastaymusicscene.com) says:
I was 13 or 14 years old, won tickets to a show from a local radio station in Ointario, Calif.
The Royal Tahitian, with Mel Carter, Dick and Dee Dee, Pat Butram (!) and Mrs. Miller.I went backstage to get her autography. She was so nervous, about to go on. We shook hands, hers were clammy. Then she went out and knocked 'em dead!
Still a great memory! (06-08-2007)

dave keen says:
hearing that version of hard days night was like december 8 1980 all over again. (05-17-2007)

John Doyle (jhdoyle@bellsouth.net) says:
In the mid-60s, I was an announcer/DJ at WSB-Radio in Atlanta, GA. A GREAT first job right out of college, at the height of Mrs. Miller's fame.

In one of the Albums sent to radio station's there was a script for an open-ended interview with Mrs. Miller.

Yep, I recorded the script while her "answers" with blank spaces for my questions played. And, I used it on my afternoon program at WSB, Metro.

The script is long gone, but I still have HER recording. I can almost piece it back together... but I wonder if anyone may have a copy of the interview: DJ's questions... HER answers.

As I recall, it came as an insert into one of her albums supplied to the station.

Feel free to email if you come across it (Google doesn't seem to see it tonight...), and I will be forever grateful.

Many thanks,
John Doyle
WSB Radio (and TV weather)
1964-1984 (05-12-2007)

Don (dhmully@hotmail.com) says:
There are no words to describe Mrs. Millers singing voice (sorry) except Dear God!! spare us all. (04-19-2007)

PAUL PETERSON says:
I can remember having dinner at a friends house in the early 70's, when I was a Jr in High School. As we were sitting down to dinner, the Father of my friend said: "lets have some dinner music....." and he proceded to put on Mrs Millers Greatest Hits. They were the coolest family............!!!! (04-15-2007)

Samantha says:
I loved listening to this!! so funny!!
poor Mrs. Miller, she thought this was serious.
Especially downtown and monday monday.
i just wish u had all the songs, and that u didnt have to save it to your comp, which doesnt work!! (04-14-2007)

Helen (hcc@sfbay.sun.com) says:
I was around in the 60s and she was clearly a parody act. She sings in the classical style -- all that vibrato, sound high in the head. I took classical voice lessons at one point and was actually told to "talk like Julia Child" and "meow the words out". That's Mrs. Miller. I'm sure she had a gas doing this and made a few bucks out of it. Much better than sitting around your suburban house feeling old and popping valium, which many women her age did in those days.

And BTW I love the commenter's story about the cats. With all that whistling and meowing, it's no surprise! (04-09-2007)

Julia (julia@atkinson5308.fsnet.co.uk) says:
Never mind the singing, listen to the WHISTLING! It's sublime - Mrs Miller prepared her mouth by holding a piece of ice between her lips for twenty minutes beforehand. Nope, you don't get dedication like that anymore... (04-04-2007)

Paul (pchristian986@btinternet.com) says:
The first time I heard of Mrs Miller, was on a Kenny everett show here in the UK, which was known as the "Worlds Worst Wireless Show" in 1979.
I admire her humour and she gets my thumbs up for sheer determination in performing her own brand of singing and she deserves to get more of this broadcast, just for sheer guts and she should be recognised for a job well done ... Good on you Mrs. Miller, keep up the great work ... (03-18-2007)






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