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Mrs Miller and Wing – Outsider Musicians?

:: Growing up in the 60s, I recall a number of (what at the time seemed like) bizarre, offbeat musical acts, including Mrs Miller, a woman who couldn’t keep time or sing on key, yet developed a huge following and sold tons o’ records. Feel the groove as she destroys A Hard Day’s Night, complete with what can be generously described as a guitar solo, featuring a standout, God-awful sour note in the midst of its execution. Cringe as you listen to the total cremation of the last few bars of the Petula Clark classic, Downtown. And what’s with the whistling??

What reminded me of Mrs Miller was an e-mail from Derryl, with a link to the site of the singer named Wing. Wing emigrated to New Zealand from Hong Kong, and notes “I have been learning singing in New Zealand and I do performances in Rest Homes and Hospitals and occasionally promotional concerts as I go along.” Recently she released Beatles Classics, featuring their famous, #1 hit, Hine Hine. Er, what? As for her take on the Beatles, here is a 30-second clip of her annihilation of I Want To Hold Your Hand. Her attempt to hit the high note when she sings, “I want to hold your HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND” is sad, and yet in a odd way, comforting. I wonder if she might consider doing a tribute album to McCartney’s 70s band, Wings. Wing Sings Wings. It makes sense.

It’s a pity that Mrs Miller is no longer with us, because if she and Wing decided to tour, I’d be first in line for tickets. Are Mrs Miller and Wing creators of outsider music? Last year, I bought Innocence and Despair: The Langley Schools Music Project, and loved it. Irwin Chusid, author of Songs in The Key of Z – The Curious Universe of Outsider Music, notes, “Outsider musicians are often termed “bad” or “inept” by listeners who judge them by the standards of mainstream popular music. Yet despite dodgy rhythms and a lack of conventional tunefulness, these often self-taught artists radiate an abundance of earnestness and passion. And believe it or not, they’re worth listening to, often outmatching all contenders for inventiveness and originality…” If so, I’d say Mrs Miller and Wing both pass the audition.

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:: As for total weirdness, I just opened Amazon, to check for entries to add to this post (for The page opened with “Hello, Randy…”, etc., and featured five products to do with outsider music. OK, is this like, cookie hell? I’m freaking out now.

7 Responses to “Mrs Miller and Wing – Outsider Musicians?”

  1. Jena Says:

    Oh God, I remember Mrs. Miller’s version of “Downtown.” Now I must go drill out my ears with something large and electric, to exorcise the demons…

  2. sharon Says:

    I get that from Amazon too. And they’ve lined up all the stuff they think I’d like. The first time i get that, I was looking around feeling paranoid. But i’ve gotten used to it.

  3. Garth Danielson Says:

    this is just how I feel about some independent films…they aren’t bad in my mind they just don’t have the talent or budget to do something better. At least they tried and had fun.

    I once read an article about Ed Wood and the writer, whom I have forgotten, said that Ed wasn’t showing you a place or item, he was showing you a representation of that item or place. I think that’s a bit of a simplification of that but it’s a good explaination, but I am sure if Ed had a budget and some better talent he could have done a better job but I am sure he wouldn’t be the icon he is today.

    There’s that asian guy who lost on some tv talent show but got a record contract anyway. There seems to be a whole lot of english singing asian girl groups out there that have a following even though they are pretty awful sounding. I don’t listen to them but some of my friends do.

    I used to listen to all these weird bands in the 70’s like throbing gristle and chrome. I don’t any more.

  4. randy Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Garth. I appreciate your input on my site. That Asian singer, William Hung, a chemical engineering student, got a recording contract, and he is just awful. It’s sad that becoming a celebrity is what’s important in the minds of so many in the media and the music industry. That he would get a recording contract is such an insult to all serious, hard-working musicians, trying to make a buck and put food on the table.

  5. Garth Danielson Says:

    what’s sad is the culture that seems to spare no expense to make fun of people. We are a nasty-ass people sometimes.

  6. chuck handsome Says:

    NC outsider musician KURT’s “baghdad mourning” song.

  7. chuck handsome Says:


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