Before there was karaoke, there was Mitch Miller, inviting Americans to “Sing Along With Mitch” each week on NBC as the words to each song displayed on the TV screen. Mitch Miller died Saturday (7/31) at age 99.
Miller was a successful record executive and orchestra director before the TV show began in 1961. As head of A&R at Columbia Records and an accomplished musician himself, Miller first recorded a series of albums called “Sing Along With Mitch,” then adapted the concept for television. Although goatees were associated by many with beatniks at the time, Mitch Miller became a welcome guest in American living rooms, directing an orchestra and group of singers as they churned out familiar tunes for the whole family to join in singing.
The show ran on NBC only until 1964, although the network brought back reruns in the summer of 1966.
Miller himself continued the concept for many more years, directing concert sing-along’s that drew large crowds. He was also a guest conductor for the Boston Pops and other orchestras.
Mitch Miller received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.
RBR-TVBR observation: Yes it was corny. And it was great fun. We all sang along with Mitch – and with our parents and brothers and sisters. Admit it; you’ve also watched some of the videos of the old TV show on YouTube, haven’t you?