King of the Road (song)

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"King of the Road"
King of the road by roger miller us vinyl a-side.png
One of A-side labels of the US release
Single by Roger Miller
from the album The Return of Roger Miller
B-side"Atta Boy Girl"
ReleasedJanuary 1965
RecordedNovember 1964
Songwriter(s)Roger Miller[1]
Producer(s)Jerry Kennedy[1]
Roger Miller singles chronology
"King of the Road"
"Engine Engine #9"

"King of the Road" is a song written by country singer Roger Miller, who first recorded it in November 1964.[1] The lyrics tell of the day-to-day life of a hobo who, despite having little money (a "man of means by no means"), revels in his freedom, describing himself humorously and cynically as the "king of the road". It was Miller's fifth single for Smash Records.[2]


The crossover record reached No. 1 on the US Country chart,[3] No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 1 on the Easy Listening surveys.[4] It was also No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart,[5] and in Norway. Miller recalled that the song was inspired when he was driving and saw a sign on the side of a barn that read, "Trailers for sale or rent".[6] This would become the opening line of the song.

R.E.M. covered the song in a shambolic, drunken, offhand rendering, guitarist Peter Buck would later comment, "If there was any justice in the world, Roger Miller should be able to sue for what we did to this song."[7]

A comic version by English entertainer Billy Howard, "King of the Cops", was a British chart hit in 1976.[8]

Chart performance[edit]

Roger Miller[edit]

Chart (1965) Peak
UK Singles Chart[9] 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[10] 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
Dutch Top40[11] 14
Dutch Official Chart[10] 5
German Official Chart[10] 26
French TEF/TMP[12] 6

The Proclaimers[edit]

Chart (1990) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[13] 78
Irish Singles Chart 8
UK Singles Chart[9] 9

Randy Travis[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[14] 74
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[15] 51

"Queen of the House"[edit]

Country music singer Jody Miller (no relation) answered "King of the Road" with "Queen of the House" (1965). The song used Roger Miller's music while changing the lyrics to describe the day-to-day life of a stay-at-home mom. The words were written by Mary Taylor.[16][17]The song was a hit, reaching number 12 on Billboard's Hot 100 and number 5 on the Hot Country Singles chart. It also won a Grammy for Female Country Vocal Performance.

Connie Francis later recorded this song on her 1966 album Live at the Sahara (1966).[citation needed]

The Supremes performed "Queen of the House" in their nightclub act. It can be heard on their The Supremes at the Copa (1965) album and I Hear a Symphony remastered CD, which includes their September 1966 appearance at the Roostertail in Detroit, on the second disc.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 92. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  2. ^ Mike Callahan; David Edwards; Patrice Eyries; Randy Watts. "Smash Records Story". Retrieved December 20, 2009.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944–2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 231.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–2001. Record Research. p. 171.
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 178. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ Roger Miller interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  7. ^ Wethington, Kari (January 24, 2009). "Cowboy Junkies". Elle.
  8. ^ "Record Details". Retrieved June 8, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 440. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  10. ^ a b c "Roger Miller - King of the Road".
  11. ^ "Roger Miller - King Of The Road".
  12. ^ "Classement du 30 mai 1965".
  13. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  14. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 3235." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. June 16, 1997. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  15. ^ "Randy Travis Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  16. ^ "MusicMatch guide, 'Jody Miller'". Retrieved April 5, 2014.
  17. ^ "Digital Tradition Mirror, 'Queen of the House'". Retrieved April 5, 2014.

External links[edit]

  • Sample from the Roger Miller official site