King of the Road (song)
|"King of the Road"|
|Single by Roger Miller|
|from the album The Return of Roger Miller|
|B-side||"Atta Boy Girl"|
|Roger Miller singles chronology|
"King of the Road" is a 1964 song written and originally recorded by country singer Roger Miller. The lyrics tell of a hobo who despite being poor (a "man of means by no means") revels in his freedom, describing himself humorously as the "king of the road". It was Miller's fifth single for Smash Records.
In an interview with disk jockey Robert W. Morgan in the early 1970s, Miller mentioned writing it while in the Chicago area. However, in an introduction to the song on the 1981 live recording "Roger Miller Live! Silver Eagle Cross Country," Miller said the song was written in Boise. The highly popular crossover record hit #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 on their Country and Easy Listening surveys. It was also #1 in UK and Norway.
The song has been covered by many other artists, including George Jones, Dean Martin (who also did a duet version with Kevin Spacey), King (an Elvis Presley impersonation), Jack Jones, The Fabulous Echoes, Boney M., R.E.M. (a shambolic, drunken offhand cover about which guitarist Peter Buck later commented, "If there was any justice in the world, Roger Miller should be able to sue for what we did to this song."), Johnny Paycheck, The Chipmunks, Boxcar Willie, Randy Travis, Rangers, James Kilbane, John Stevens, the Statler Brothers, Rufus Wainwright & Teddy Thompson, Giant Sand, Peligro, The Proclaimers, Ray Conniff Singers and The Reverend Horton Heat, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Joe Strummer during live performances.
The song is featured in Wim Wenders' 1976 film Im Lauf der Zeit (In the Course of Time; English title Kings of the Road). It is also played at the beginning of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Brokeback Mountain, Into the Wild, Traveller and in Swingers. Miller performs it in the concert film The Big T.N.T. Show. The recording by The Proclaimers is included in the film "The Crossing" (1990). Near the end of their official music video, the pair are shown reading a newspaper whose headline is "Roger Miller, King of Plugs".
After the major success achieved by "King of the Road", Dean Martin recorded the 1965 tune "Houston", which is similar in both lyrics and feel.
Chart performance 
Roger Miller 
|U.K. Singles Chart||1|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||1|
|U.S. Billboard Easy Listening||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||4|
|Irish Singles Chart||5|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||10|
Randy Travis 
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks||51|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||74|
Queen of the House 
In 1965 country music singer Jody Miller answered "King of the Road" with "Queen of the House". The song used Roger Miller's music while changing the lyrics to describe the day-to-day life of a housewife. The words were written by Mary Taylor. Singer Connie Francis later recorded the song on her 1966 album "Live at the Sahara".
The Supremes performed the song in their nightclub act. It can be heard on their 1965 The Supremes at the Copa album, and on the I Hear A Symphony remastered CD, which includes their September 1966 appearance at the Roostertail in Detroit on the second disc.
"Have You Looked into Your Heart" by Jerry Vale
|Billboard Middle-Road Singles number-one single
February 10 – April 17, 1965
"The Race Is On" by Jack Jones
"I've Got a Tiger By the Tail" by Buck Owens
|Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
March 27 – April 24, 1965
"This Is It" by Jim Reeves
"Ticket to Ride" by The Beatles
|UK Singles Chart number-one single
May 13, 1965
"Where Are You Now My Love" by Jackie Trent