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
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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:

Susan says:
Wouldn't we all love to hear Mrs. Miller perform with William Hung? Or maybe with Paris Hilton.........:) (10-01-2006)

Troy says:
Um...I'm... in shock. Seriously. I will never ever be able to listen to Hard Days Night again...from anyone. Truly unforgetable and unforgivable. Netters, listen at your own risk. I ain't kidding! (09-15-2006)

laughed out loud says:
well what can I say? after a joke was played in my englsih class, my teacher proceeded to tell us we haven't heard bad music until we listen to the infamous mrs. miller. sure enough it brought the class to roaring laughter. i never knew that someone who couldn't sing on time or key could make a record album. i guess it goes to show how limited music must have been in the 60's. anyways thanks to my english prof. for turning our day around with her hilarious songs. p.s. i'll never be able to listen to downtown again and not think of mrs. millers version.
-sincerely, kid who cracked up in english- (08-30-2006)

Detkicker says:
Mrs. Miller rocks!. I dig that whistle on Downtown. Do you know where I can pick up a CD? (08-30-2006)

komp Smith (http://www.thedailypunt.com/forum/index.php?) says:
Still love some Mrs Millar. I'd love to sing with her someday if shes still alive and im in america. Is she still alive? (08-30-2006)

laughed out loud! says:
wow my teacher played downtown for our class and i don't think i've heard a better version of it. her songs are pretty trippy but make for a good laugh in any english class!! if ur ever feeling like the worst singer ever, just play some of mrs. miller's tunes and you'll see that compared to her you're the next american idol! enjoy the laughter and have fun!!! (08-30-2006)

Margaret Clary says:
My mother bought Mrs. Miller's album when it came out in the 60's. My siblings and I loved it! We used to put in on the stack with Bill Cosby's "Why is there Air" and enjoyed it much more. (08-20-2006)

Rick Robertson (pno4tay@yahoo.com) says:
Mrs. Miller is the best!

I have "A Lover's Concerto" as a ringtone on my cell phone. Just the thing if I get a call in a restaurant... (08-09-2006)

michele (winfield_4211@yahoo.com) says:
Any body know if there is a CD out of Mrs. Miller's greatest hits? (08-06-2006)

Richard says:
They actually played Mrs. Miller's "Downtown" on our Top 40 station down here at the time. My impression then (and now) is that Mrs. Miller was very much in on the joke, and that was the point of the whole album. And believe it or not, the LP sold very well back then. (07-22-2006)

nes_fan says:
is it just me or does she giggle at 1:39 and what is with the whistling? (07-21-2006)

Dan Mullen (danmullen@verizon,net) says:
I have her album "Wild, Cool & Swingin'". You have to admit she's got guts. (07-20-2006)

Vynyl Junkie says:
My wife threatens divorce every time I break out Mrs. Miller - especially when we have company. I have both of her LP's, and do play them on an occasional basis. I drop the needle on the first 10-20 seconds of each track have a good laugh at the amazing zeal with which Elva makes an absolute fool of herself, and then relieve all within earshot of the horrid vocals set against some of the soundest production this side of Sir George Martin.

But, like William Hung, she had an opportunity, went for it, found an audience and is now remembered 40 years later by those who saw her on Carson and/or hear her for the first time here.

We laugh at her for being so awful, but I'll bet she did okay where the money was concerned - provided the record execs who so unabashedly coaxed her into making these recordings didn't totally exploit her financially... (07-07-2006)

frankie says:
my lord. what an oddly unique voice. . . but not for singing. (06-26-2006)

Stiv Bators says:
Hot Damn! She is one helluva singer! Any time I need to put a smile on my face I listen to one of Elva's classics ~ it don't get no better than that!! She was such a pure singer ~ she could stack up to Kate Smith any day of the week and do it much better! It's too bad she isn't around today to see how much people really appreciate her unique voice! Mrs. Miller lives on in our hearts forever!! (06-09-2006)

David Caprita (davidcaprita@sbcglobal.net) says:
I have a pretty clean copy of the "Mrs. Miller Promotional Interview" record, the one that was sent to radio stations to create a fake interview with the local DJ and Mrs. Miller's recorded responses.
Anybody know what it might be worth? (06-07-2006)

Bob Stout (rstout8276@sbcglobal.net) says:
We used to own this album and would simply slip it into the stack of 33LPs on our changer and wait to see what happened to the Bridge Party when it came on. It was such fun to watch people's faces when they finally tuned in to what was coming over the record player. It was such fun to see their faces and wait to see if they were going to comment. SOMEONE always did but only after at least the first one or two songs had been played through. Bless her heart! She was fun to watch on Carson. I don't know if she knew how she sounded or if she thought she sounded great, but she had a vibrato you could drive a truck through. I wish I had a CD of this album. I have long ago tossed my "record" player.

BOB STOUT (06-05-2006)

Mark Lawler says:
I remember Mrs. Miller's single "Downtown" when I was a kid. My mom bought it, played it for us, and we were in fits of hysterical laughter. Now that I am nearly 50, I can view the music(?) from a different perspective since I do play an instrument. (Hopefully not as badly as she sings!) Thanks to the CD age, I can once again enjoy that combination of a drowning frog/whistling bird voice that makes this record worth the price of admission. What makes this record such a classic is that she was dead serious about her vocal talent. As one of my artist friends once said, "If you can't be really good, be really bad and you'll succeed." (05-28-2006)

Chad (http//chadfox.blogspot.com) says:
Wow. I mean, wow.

I own this record. I bought it at a thrift store, but when I got home I discovered my turntable was completely inoperative so it just sat mouldering in a crate for a while and I forgot about it until I saw it here. I found it, dusted it off, and...well, let's just say it's on heavy rotation at my house.

Mrs. Miller was an absolute genius. (05-19-2006)

DamnThatOjeda (imatickler_99@hotmail.com) says:
One of the reasons why Mrs. Miller's music lives on is because it deftly straddles the line between a genuine approach to music and satire. Virtually all the songs she recorded on this album (at least the rock & roll ones) get played repeatedly on oldies radio--so much so that the originals become drained of importance. Elva breathes life back into those songs and makes them unforgettable by reminding the listeners of the constructions of those songs, thereby removing the unconscious acceptance of the blend of rhythm and notes. It's a bit like a Godard-like breakdown of a film into its pieces. Miller breaks down the songs to let you know that pop songs are basically sonic contrivances. You simply cannot hear the original versions in the same way again after hearing Mrs. Miller's. (05-15-2006)






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