Sometimes the voices of siblings are similar, yet individual enough that when joined together they produce a distinctive sound. Phil and Don Everly. The Osmonds. The Andrews Sisters. But perhaps the smoothest of them all was a group whose popularity stretched over four decades – The Mills Brothers.
They were discovered by Duke Ellington, who took them to see the great William S. Paley at CBS Radio. Paley was so impressed that he signed them to a contract and made them the first African-American group to host their own radio program.
There were originally four brothers, but one died in 1936. Who would they find with a compatible voice to take the fallen brother’s place? Why not dad? So John Mills, Sr. recorded and toured with his boys until finally deciding to retire in 1957. At that time, the Mills Brothers continued as a trio.
They produced some memorable recordings from the 30s until their last hit in 1968. Memorable songs by the Mills Brothers include “Lazy River”… “Paper Doll”… “Glow Worm”… “Standin’ on the Corner”… “Till Then”… “You Always Hurt the One You Love”… and “Cab Driver.”