Roger Miller

King of the Road

Composed by Roger Miller

Song Review by

"King of the Road" was an out-of-the-box smash, a surprising fate for a song about the joys of being a bum. Country singer/songwriter Roger Miller had been scoring crossover hits with self-written novelties like "Dang Me" and "Chug-a-Lug" since switching from RCA Victor to Smash Records in 1964. The easygoing, folkish "King of the Road" was also something of a novelty, but in a warmly engaging, rather than outright humorous, way. Miller was a master of economical wordplay, and he deftly sketched the portrait of a footloose man at the bottom of society with short phrases, even including, for instance, quotations from cheap hotel notices: "no phone, no pool, no pets." He set the lyrics to a gently rolling melody, which he sang in an appropriately offhand, if rhythmic, manner. Released as a single in January 1965, Miller's "King of the Road" shot into the pop Top 40 by its second week in the charts, eventually topping the country and easy listening charts, reaching the pop Top Five, and going gold. At Grammy time, Miller earned nine nominations associated with it and the album that contained it, among them Song of the Year. He walked away with six trophies, among them the award for Best Country & Western Song. (This led some to charge that the Nashville chapter of NARAS was stuffing the ballot box.) Miller's recording may have been definitive, but that didn't keep lots of people from covering it when it became successful. Meanwhile, Jody Miller (no relation) scored a Top Ten country and Top 20 pop hit with her "answer" record, "Queen of the House." Over the years, "King of the Road" has remained familiar. In the 1980s, R.E.M. even stumbled through a take of it that was released as a B-side and turned up on its Dead Letter Office compilation. Randy Travis' revival was a minor country chart entry in 1997.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1965 2:25
King of the Road [Hilltop] 1971 Hilltop
Country Music Classics, Vol. 3 (1965-70) 1984
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:25
Country U.S.A.: 1965 1989
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
AM Gold: 1965 1990
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:27
Smithsonian Collection of Classic Country Music, Vol. 3 1991
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2:26
King of the Road [Laserlight] 1992 Laserlight / Delta Distribution 2:27
The Best of Roger Miller, Vol. 2: King of the Road 1992 Mercury
King of the Road [Epic] 1992 Epic
No Image 1993 Pair
Country's Greatest Singer Songwriters 1993
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:25
Country Spotlight 1993 Dominion 2:25
Smash Hits [Laurie] 1993
Various Artists
Laurie
King of the Road [Bear Family] 1994 Brentwood Records 2:33
Dang Me: Hits 1994 Drive Archive 2:27
When You're Hot You're Country 1994
Various Artists
Drive Archive 2:25
At His Best [PSM] 1995 Collectables 2:28
Number One Country Hits: 50's through the 80's 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / PSM 2:29
The 101 Greatest Country Hits [Box] 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:25
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Mercury 2:25
King of the Road: The Genius of Roger Miller 1995 Mercury Nashville / Mercury 2:25
Six Days on the Road [K-Tel] 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:25
Country's Most Requested Songs 1996
Various Artists
ITC Masters / Intercontinental Records 2:28
Super Hits 1996 Sony Music Distribution / Sbme Special Mkts. / Sony Music
Country Legends [Intersound] 1996
Various Artists
Intersound 2:30
Golden Classics: 22 Classic Tracks 1996 Masters Intercontinental 2:29
Leading Men, Vol. 3: Masters of Style 1996
Various Artists
Polygram
Swingers [Original Soundtrack] 1996
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 2:27
The Platinum Collection: Country Greats 1996
Various Artists
Start 2:27
I Love Country: Hits of the '60s 1997
Various Artists
Priority Records 2:28
The Academy of Country Music's 101 Greatest Country Hits, Vol. 10: Country Roads 1997
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:25
The  Hits 1997 Universal Special Products / Mercury 2:25
Roger Miller Live! 1997 Silver Eagle Classics / Silver Eagle Records 2:42
Legends of the Silver Eagle 1997
Various Artists
Silver Eagle Classics / Silver Eagle Records 2:42
Country Hits [Riviere] 1997
Various Artists
Riviere International Records 2:23
Legends of Country Music: The Best of Austin City 1997
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:14
Best of Country & Western, Vol. 3 1997
Various Artists
Stick
The Essential Country Collection [Emporio] 1997
Various Artists
Emporio 2:23
Very Best of Country [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:23
The Best of Roger Miller [Spectrum] 1998 Spectrum Music 2:27
Vocal Treasures [Rebound] 1998
Various Artists
Rebound Records 2:28
45's on CD, Vol. 2 (1964-1965) 1998
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / PSM 2:26
Mega Country, Vol. 2 1998
Various Artists
Pmf
More Original Jukebox Hits 1998
Various Artists
Empire Super Doubles 2:25
Ultimate Driving Collection: Countrywide Ride 1998
Various Artists
Chronicles / Polygram 2:26
King of the Road: Greatest Hits and Favorites 1998 Country Stars 2:29
Great Performances: Encore Collection 1998 BMG Special Products 2:29
Classic Country: Country Roots 1998
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:27
This Is Country: Giants of Country [Cleopatra/Big Eye] 1998
Various Artists
Pegasus (Pinnacle) 2:23
Millennium: Forty Hits 1965-1969 1998
Various Artists
Disky 2:28
Greatest Hits [Unison] 1999 Unison 2:29
Trucker's Favorite Top 10 Radio Requests 1999
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 2:28
Hot Rod Box Set 1999
Various Artists
The Right Stuff 2:28
Greatest Hits [Platinum Disc] 1999 Platinum Disc 2:29
Essential Soundtracks 1999
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 2:28
40 Hits: 1965-1969 1999
Various Artists
Millennium Hits (Netherlands) 2:28
Lost & Found 1999
Original Soundtrack
Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:27
Number Ones of the Sixties 1999
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:29
20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best of Roger Miller 1999 MCA 2:28
Born to Be Wild: Music for Road 1999
Various Artists
Bcd
4 Country Legends 1999
Various Artists
Double Play Records 2:30
Road Jams 1999
Various Artists
Music Mill 2:28
Greatest Hits: Millennium 60s, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Classic Country: 1965-1974 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:27
The All Time Greatest Country Songs 1999
Various Artists
MSI Music Distribution / Sony Music Distribution 2:27
One for the Road 1999
Various Artists
Startel 2:29
Live 2000 EMI-Capitol Special Markets 2:45
Grand Ole Country Collection 2000
Various Artists
Legacy 2:20
Country Music Classics 2000
Various Artists
STARTEL EN
The Best of Country 2000 Direct Source 2:30
Country Gold: King of the Road 2000 Direct Source 2:31
Country Pride: Country Style 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:27
The Very Best of Roger Miller 2000 Summit Records 2:27
The Best of Dueling Country 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:29
The Best of Country Gold [Direct Source Box Set #2] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:31
Oh Boy Records Classics Presents Roger Miller 2000 Oh Boy 2:28
Million Dollar Country 2000
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:28
Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes 2000
Various Artists
Intercontinental Records 2:30
King of the Road [Legend] 2000 Delta Distribution / Legend 2:27
History of Country Music: Country Legends 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:30
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Collectables
Pure Country 2001 Sony Music Distribution
Hits You Remember: Live 2001 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:45
The Best of Roger Miller [St. Clair] 2001 St. Clair 2:26
Country Funnies 2001
Various Artists
Double Play Records 2:29
Truckin' Country 2001
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:25
Jammin' Oldies: Classic Country 2001
Various Artists
Masters / Intercontinental Records 2:30
Country Memory 2001
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:20
45's: 45 Classic No. 1's 2001
Various Artists
BMG
All Music Guide: Cool Country 2001
Various Artists
All Music Guide / Medalist Entertainment 2:29
That's Country [Golden Stars] 2001
Various Artists
Golden Stars 2:27
Diamonds Are Forever 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:24
Country Greats [Columbia River 2002] 2002
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:15
Country Classics [Columbia River] 2002
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:15
The Very Best of Country Legends [United] 2002
Various Artists
United Multimedia 2:21
The Number 1 Country Collection 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:24
The Golden Age of American Rock 'N' Roll: Special Country Edition 2002
Various Artists
Ace 30:45
Roger Miller Classics 2002 Varèse Vintage 2:29
Home on the Road 2002
Various Artists
King 2:25
Elite: Country 2002
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Ultimate Country Super Hits [Sony Box Set] 2002
Various Artists
Immediate / Sony Music Distribution 2:27
The Ultimate Classic Country Collection 2002
Various Artists
WEA International 2:26
David Allan Coe Presents Roger Miller 2002 Coe Pop Records 2:31
The Folk Years: Reason to Believe 2002
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:26
Sound of Country 2003
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:29
Pure Country Classics: The #1 Hits 2003
Various Artists
UTV 2:25
Essential Country Classics [Music Club 2003] 2003
Various Artists
Music Club International Records
Top Hits of the Sixties: Amazing Hits 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:29
All Time Greatest Hits 2003 Mercury Nashville / Mercury 2:30
King of the Road [Prism] 2003 Prism Entertainment 2:25
Best Ever Country Drinking Songs 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
The Folk Years [Box Set] 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:26
The Lighter Side of Country 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:28
Very Best of Country Legends [Madacy] 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:30
Country Gold [Direct Source 2003 Single Disc] 2003
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:27
Roger Miller [2003] 2003 Reader's Digest Music 2:25
Rock and Roll at Fifty: A Galaxy of Hits from Rock's First Decade 2003
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:26
Triple Value: Country 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
New Hooked on Number Ones Experience 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 1:00
On the Road Again [Goldies Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Goldies 2:28
World of Roger Miller 2004 Karussell 2:31
Platinum & Gold Collection 2004 RLG/BMG Heritage / RCA 2:27
Country Greats, Vol. 1 2004
Various Artists
CBUJ Distribution 2:29
The Great Country Collection 2004
Various Artists
Red X 2:27
Best Easy Listening Album in the World 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:30
Country Legends 2004 St. Clair 2:32
Country Gold: 50 Years of Country Hits, 1965-69 2004
Various Artists
BMG Special Products 2:25
Road Trip: Open Road Country 2004
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:29
David Allan Coe Presents...My Favorite Singers, Vol. 2 2004
Various Artists
Coe Pop Records 2:29
King of the Road 2004
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group 2:14
Country Forever [ULT Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Ultimate Music Collection 2:21
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:26
Country Barbeque 2005
Various Artists
Lifestyles 2:22
Country: The Essential Album 2005
Various Artists
Essential Records 2:20
King of the Road [RCR/Cbuj] 2005 CBUJ Distribution 2:31
The Best of Country [Disky] 2005
Various Artists
Disky / Disky Communications 2:27
King of the Road: The Best of Roger Miller [K-Tel] 2005 K-Tel Distribution 2:31
60's Smash Hits 2005
Various Artists
Disky
Very Best of Country & Western 2005
Various Artists
Disky Communications 2:25
Essential Country, Vol. 2: Duets 2005
Various Artists
Mastersong
Ultimate 16: Country Legends 2005
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:26
Solid Gold Country [Union Square] 2005
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:19
Greatest Country Music Collection Ever 2005
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:26
Top 20 of Country 2005
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:27
Highway Fever: All Time Greatest Country Road Songs 2006
Various Artists
American Beat Records 2:27
K-Tel Presents: Country Guys 2006
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution / Brentwood/K-Tel 2:35
Magical Memories for Mum 2006
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
#1 Country Hits of the 60s [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 2:28
Country Hit Parade: Country Legends 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:25
The Best of Classic Country: '60s 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music / TLS 2:28
Chug a Lug 2006 CBUJ Distribution 2:31
Billboard #1s: Classic Country 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 2:28
Country Hit Parade 2006 Direct Source 2:26
No Image 2006
Various Artists
Trojan
I Love Country 2006
Various Artists
EMI/Virgin TV
Greatest Ever! Number 1's: The Definitive Collection 2006
Various Artists
Union Square Music
Number One Party Anthems 2006
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
Country Songs for the Open Road 2006
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:25
Legends of Country: Classic Hits from the '50s, '60s & '70s 2006
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:27
#1 Country Hits [2006 Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:28
True 60s Love 2006
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:25
Hot Wheels & Highways: Great Driving Songs 2007
Various Artists
Golden Stars
30 #1 Country Hits of the 1960s 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:26
Truckin Country Jukebox 2007
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:26
Number 1's: Country 2007
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:27
Timeless Hits 2007 KRB Music 2:27
20 Truckin' Country Hits 2007
Various Artists
Bayberry Records 2:26
Country Gentlemen: Country Roads 2007
Various Artists
KRB Music 2:26
Essential Country Classics [Music Club 2007] 2007
Various Artists
Music Club International Records
Pure 2007 Direct Source 2:26
Vol. 4 Country Legends 2007
Various Artists
Gusto Records 2:22
Ultimate Grammy Collection: Classic Country 2008
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:27
Country Trilogy Collection 2008
Various Artists
Music Brokers 2:29
The Outlaw Trail Collection 2008
Various Artists
EDI Video 2:25
Driving Songs: The Ultimate Collection 2008
Various Artists
Ultimate / Ultimate Entertainment 2:27
Ultimate Collection: Dad 2009
Various Artists
Ultimate 2:28
The Only Classic Country Collection You'll Ever Need 2010
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:37
Country Legends 2010
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group / Columbia River Group 2:20
Country Classics Set #1: Vol. 1 - 3
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group
Country Hits, Vol. 1 [Euro Trend]
Various Artists
Euro Trend 2:23
Evergreens [Universal]
Various Artists
TVCD
Hits, Vols. 1-2: '60s, '70s, '80s
Various Artists
Mediterrano
John Laws on Route 66-22 Legendary Driving Songs
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
La  Légende Country
Various Artists
Sony BMG
Memories of Roger Miller K-Tel Distribution
Number 1 Hits of the 60s
Various Artists
Legend 2:21
No Image
Various Artists
Phantom Import Distribution
No Image
Various Artists
No Image
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
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