Millie Kirkham's high-soprano vocals can be heard on country, pop, and rock & roll hits, from Rosemary Clooney and Perry Como to Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Loretta Lynn, and Charley Pride. For this 2012 installment of the quarterly Nashville Cats program series, Kirkham visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to share her experiences as Nashville's longtime "on-call soprano."
Hosted by musician Bill Lloyd, the program kicks off with vintage footage of Country Music Hall of Fame member Eddy Arnold performing "The Richest Man in the World," with Kirkham providing background vocals. Over the next hour-plus, Kirkham and Lloyd explore her music and career, joined by a crowd stocked with other revered musicians, including Elvis Presley band members D.J. Fontana and Scotty Moore, A-list guitarists Harold Bradley and Jimmy Capps, and many others.
Among the history-making memories Millie Kirkham recounts: being one of the first people to hear Hank Williams's "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (alongside WSM radio program director Jack Stapp); singing on Ferlin Husky’s "Gone" from the stairwell in Owen Bradley’s Music Row studio; and providing the "Whoo-oo-oo-oo" coos to Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas" while she was six months pregnant.
Kirkham nods to a misunderstanding that made front pages, too, from Elvis Presley's Las Vegas days. Presley introduced the background singer "who has been with me for thirteen years" from the stage, and a "Movie World" reporter assumed a more-than-professional meaning.
Bill Lloyd also shares a medley of hits featuring Millie Kirkham's vocals, including Country Music Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry" and Bobby Vinton's "Blue Velvet."
Find out more about the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's public programs: https://countrymusichalloffame.org/plan-your-visit/exhibits-activities/public-programs/
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