In the (few) obits I've read for Mitch Miller, I didn't see any mention of his early role in Mercury
Records, which was important for the young independent company. Miller was an oboe player, Eastman
School trained. He was hired at Mercury by John Hammond and he, Hammond and David Hall comprised the
company's earliest classical-music staff. Miller recorded an album of oboe/chamber orchestra music
for Mercury, as well as worked on the "Charlie Parker with Strings" sessions for Norman Granz. At
that time, Granz was affiliated with Mercury.
After Miller went to Columbia and, among many other things, founded the famous 30th Street studio,
he continued to moonlight with other projects. One on-going thing for him in the 50's and 60's was
conducting, arranging and producing sessions for Little Golden Book kiddie records. He did some of
these sessions at Fine Sound and then Fine Recording.
Some of the obits and tributes struck me as very ironic. Miller was portrayed as this old
fuddy-duddy of suburbia in the age of rock and roll with his sing-along show. The goatee should have
slain that myth. Both Miller and Hammond were cutting-edge dudes in their time, very much on the
forefront of music and intellectual thought, and far left of the mainstream in their social and
political views. They were progressives before there was such a term.
Mitch Miller did much for the music business, and for Mercury and then Columbia Records. May he rest
-- Tom Fine