King of the Road

Roger Miller wrote many great country tunes, and this may be his greatest. He had a wonderful gift for wordplay. His repertoire ranged from the quirky (“Roses are red, violets are purple/sugar is sweet and so is maple surple”) to the serious (“It’s my belief pride is the chief cause of the decline in the number of husbands and wives”). King of the Road has the adventurous feel of a hobo road trip. It is fun for me musically because of the way it modulates before the bridge. Like many guitar players, I once struggled with barre chords, and this song was one of the ones that helped me overcome that struggle.

Trailer for sale or rent
Rooms to let, fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets
Ain’t got no cigarettes

But two hours of pushin’ broom
Buys an 8×12 four-bit room
I’m a man of means, by no means
King of the road

Third boxcar, midnight train
Destination Bangor, Maine
Old worn out suit and shoes
Don’t pay no union dues

I smoke old stogies that I have found
Short, but not too big around
I’m a man of means, by no means
King of the road

I know every engineer on every train
All of the children and all of their names
Every handout in every town
And every lock that ain’t locked when no one’s around
I sing . . .

Trailer for sale or rent . . .

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