King of the Road
Release Date: January 28th, 1965
Words by: Roland Ellis
March 8th, 2015
The character at the heart of Roger Miller's crossover smash hit ain't no down-in-the-mouther. He's happy living on the cheap, wandering from town to town; he doesn't want a steady job that involves paying union dues.
So many songs or books about being on the road end up reflecting on the loneliness and detachment of it; the characters wind up lamenting the fact that they have no place to call home. "King of the Road" doesn't go down that path, instead remaining an optimistic toe-tapper to the end. Maybe that has something to do with only being two minutes long. Surely if Miller had tacked on a few extra verses the protagonist would've turned a corner and realised he's sick of the wind and rain; or that he misses some girl from back home; or that he's tired of scrounging for cigarette butts and trudging along in worn out shoes.