King of the Road

su and uncle tom mod With my beloved great uncle Tom, my grandad’s younger brother. Carshalton, England, c. 1966.

There’s a family story that when I was about four my grandad bought me a record player, because I’d been given a record of nursery rhymes as a gift and we had nothing to play it on.

There was a portable record player in our house when I was little, and although I have no memory of any nursery rhymes, I do recall a small collection of records that were played again and again. There were a couple by The Beatles (Ticket to Ride was one), something yodell-ey which I now think might have been Frank Ifield’s I Remember You, and Roger Miller’s King of the Road.

I had no idea what the lyrics were, or could possibly mean, but I remember singing along with great enthusiasm … “trailers for cigarettes? sailorettes?”

It’s a song that’s been covered many times by many people, but my absolute favourite version is by the Proclaimers. What’s not to love about twins from Auchtermuchty singing an American song with Scottish accents.

There is a connection of sorts with the photo above. Uncle Tom owned a Messerschmitt KR200 — a three-wheeled bubble car. Being allowed to ride with him was one of the great joys of my young life. In my eyes, he was the King of the Road.

My friend Sarah at Art Expedition is hosting 30 Days, 30 Songs for the month of June. You can see her latest post here.

Why not join in — you don’t have to post every day.

41 thoughts on “King of the Road

  1. I love this post—it would fit on Shaking the Tree also as a bit of family history. And strangely enough I was just singing King of the Road the other day when someone described my husband as the king of the road because of all the driving he does. “Trailer for sale or rent, rooms to let, fifty cents.
    No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain’t got no cigarettes.” That was as far as I got.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That photo of you and your great uncle Tom is gorgeous, Su! 😀
    Love, love, love this song and the Scottish accent is sooo cute! I first came across this song when I watched “Brokeback Mountain” (I’ve got the soundtrack too, there it is sung by Rufus Wainwright). I actually wanted to pick it for the challenge too but now will have think of something else. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. He was my favourite adult in the world.
      I think it’s fine to post the same song, especially if it’s being performed by someone else. Good covers bring something completely different to a song. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, this is wonderful! I’ve never seen the video to go with the song before: the boys are looking really sharp.

    We had Frank Ifield’s I Remember You as well, The Wayward Wind was the B side. It was the first time my sister and I were allowed to choose a record to buy – that was hers, I chose Hey Paula by – ahem – Paul and Paula! I don’t think I was ever in a bubble car but my Dad’s boss had one. All of this must have taken place in 1962 or thereabouts because we moved that summer and I remember the records in my first home.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great cover. I remember the song well from childhood days. We had a portable record player in about 1965 but it only played 45rpm. Like you, we only had a few records which were played over and over again. That is a lovely photo of you and your great uncle. It looks like you are the princess to his king.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I so love this! And as far as ‘making up own texts’ to songs I did pretty well too in my childhood. A Sunday School song had ‘Er liebt auch mich’ in it (He – God – loves me, too) and I made it cheerfully to Er Lippenstift (He lip stick)….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A great song and the Proclaimers are fabulous! I got my record player in 1963 for Christmas but ended up sharing it with my brothers. I think I had a Cliff Richard EP as my first record (please don’t laugh), but the song I remember the most was Needles and Pins by the Searchers that my elder brother bought – it drove me mad!

    Lovely family photo btw 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we had at least one Cliff Richard record in our house too. My mum was a huge fan. 😬
      The first record I actually bought was Rod Stewart’s ‘Night on the Town’ — and I can’t even claim that ‘The Killing of Georgie’ was my favourite song.
      I can understand how ‘Needles and Pins’ would drive you nuts; I just listened to it. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

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