Found Performance: “Husbands & Wives” by Roger Miller

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This one goes back to my early days of listening to the radio. In 1966 this song was on the playlist at Top-40 KPUG in Bellingham. I bet Gary Shannon and Kirk Wilde remember playing it. I think the KPUG jocks actually gave heavier airplay to the flip side “Long Time Leavin,'” but the station played both sides of this country crossover hit.

“Husbands and Wives” was written by, and first recorded by, Roger Miller. It was the bigger hit of the two sides, achieving Top 10 status on the U.S. Country Chart (#5), and Adult Contemporary Chart (#2), and on the Billboard Hot 100 (#26). The double sided hit single was released in Feb.1966. The flip “I’ve Been a Long Time Leavin’ (But I’ll Be a Long Time Gone),” peaked at #13 on the country charts.

“Husbands and Wives” became another smash in 1998, back when I owned KBFW radio in Bellingham, when the tune was covered by country stars Brooks & Dunn. That version went to #1 on the Billboard Country Chart and to #36 on the Billboard Hot 100.

This performance is from The Dean Martin Show in February 1968.

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Steven L. Smith

Author: Steven L. Smith

Presently editor and historical writer with Puget Sound Media in Seattle. Former radio broadcaster and radio station owner, 1970-1999. Journalism and speech communications degrees. I enjoy researching articles and online reporting that allows me to meld together words, audio and video. P.S. I appreciate and encourage reader comments and opinions.

13 thoughts on “Found Performance: “Husbands & Wives” by Roger Miller

  1. Roger Miller, the first time he saw a lady at the beach wearing a thong: “Hmm … flossing … ”

    Roger Miller unpublished song of unrequited love: “If you won’t be my #1, then #2 on you”

  2. Roger Miller was the king of absurdity. Story is he wrote many of his songs while smoking one of those funny little cigarettes. I mean where else do you get songs like “You Can’t Rollerskate In A Buffalo Herd”, “My Uncle Used To Love Me But She Died”! And then there’s just the sweet silliness of “Dang Me”, “England Swings”, “Kansas City Star”, Chug-A-Lug”, etc. – His “King Of The Road” even had motels named after it. I always love the pure ‘ punny’ cleverness of “The Last Word In Lonesome Is Me”. The other singer-songwriters around Nashville loved this man! Was a friend to all!

  3. Jay…as I recall at KBFW you thought my enthusiasm for Roger Miller silly songs was exceeding the enthusiasm of the listeners. I remember you would suggest that instead of playing Roger four times a shift I might mix in more bluegrass

    1. Steven ~ Age may be fogging your memory glands. Loved that “tasty” bluegrass … but also loved that “silly” Roger!
      I always thought if I ever had a bluegrass band I’d call them The Fuzzy Bottom Boys!

  4. I think it was not as much Roger as my choice in Roger’s music. I went for the wackiest stuff. But in that era he really did lots of good songs that were not so drug induced like Walking in the Sunshine and lesser known Tom Green County Fair. But those were not the ones I played.

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