‘King of the Road’

Analysis: ‘King of the Road’
Written and first recorded by Roger Miller in 1964 for Smash Records
“The lyrics tell of a hobo who despite being …a "man of means by no means” revels in his freedom” (Wikipedia, accessed 04 Oct 2012)
Inspired by a sign outside Chicago that read "Trailers for Sale or Rent.” (www.RogerMiller.com accessed 04 Oct 2012)
 
Lyrics
VERSE 1
Trailers for sale or rent
 Rooms to let...fifty cents.
 No phone, no pool, no pets
 I ain't got no cigarettes
 Ah, but..two hours of pushin' broom
 Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
 I'm a man of means by no means
 King of the road.
VERSE 2
Third boxcar, midnight train
 Destination...Bangor, Maine.
 Old worn out suits and shoes,
 I don't pay no union dues,
 I smoke old stogies I have found
 Short, but not too big around
 I'm a man of means by no means
 King of the road.
BRIDGE
I know every engineer on every train
 All of their children, and all of their names
 And every handout in every town
 And every lock that ain't locked
 When no one's around.
VERSE 4
I sing,
 Trailers for sale or rent
 Rooms to let, fifty cents
 No phone, no pool, no pets
 I ain't got no cigarettes
 Ah, but, two hours of pushin' broom
 Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room
 I'm a man of means by no means
 King of the road.
TIME SIGNATURE
  • 4/4 - swing time
  • 4 beats per bar
  • Quarter note gets the beat
  • BUT! eighth-notes are “swung”
    • First eighth note is lengthened, second is shortened:

FORM: Verse/Refrain (with bridge)
CHORD PROGRESSION
Sing Roots:
1 / / / 4 / / / 5 / / / 1 / / /

Find inner lines:
I   IV  V   I   I   IV  V   I   I   IV  V   I
3           3   3           3   3   3       3
        2               2               2      
1   1       1   1   1       1   1   1       1  
        7               7               7      
    6               6               6             
5       5   5   5       5   5   5       5   5  
    4  (4)             (4)          4  (4)     
3           3   3   3       3   3           3  
        2               2               2      
1   1       1   1   1       1   1   1       1  
        7               7               7      
    6               6               6        
5       5   5   5       5   5   5       5   5

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