"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.