Roger Miller | Screen grabbed from Youtube

Roger Miller was a prominent hitmaker in country music, particularly during the mid-1960s. Probably, he was best known for his song King of the Road” which also became his alias. Before diving into the world of recording, he was a great songwriter. He has written several songs that other country legends have popularized including Ernest Tubb, Faron Young, Jim Reeves, among others. In 1964, Miller suffered from financial difficulties. To help himself out of the situation, he signed with the up-and-coming label Smash Records. But, the said signing came along with a proposal from the signer. Accordingly, he will record for the company 16 sides in exchange for $1,600. Fortunately for him, the label accepted his proposal and he began recording in early 1964.

Chug-a-lug, Among His First Recordings with Smash Records

“Chug-a-lug” was one of the first two songs that Miller performed during his first session with Smash Records in 1964. The company released both songs as singles. “Chug-a-lug” reached No. 3 on the country chart while peaking at No. 9 on Billboard Hot 100. The other song, Dang Me” was even more successful becoming Miller’s first top country hit and first Top 10 pop song. Undeniably, these two songs had transformed Miller’s career.

According to Miller, “Chug-a-lug” was inspired by his friend’s true story. This friend was someone who “could drink a beer in 3 seconds.” And the title of the song was taken from the expression of the same name which refers to drowning a drink quickly. As it is a funny recollection of youthful encounters with homemade alcoholic drinks, the song radiates a comical vibe. In the song, Miller describes what became of him after drinking the extra-strong liquor.

Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug
Make you want to holler hi-de-ho
Burns your tummy, don’tcha know
Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug

Listen to Roger Miller’s recording of “Chug-a-lug” below.

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