The Mills Brothers


The American vocal quartet that among the most unique and influential in the history of both jazz and mainstream popular music. 

The Mills Brothers began as a barbershop quartet. They gave their first public performances in variety shows on the radio in 

Cincinnati, Ohio.

In about 1930, they moved to New York City, where they became the first African American singers to have their own national radio 

show. Billed as “Four Boys and a Guitar” and accompanied only by the brother Johns’ guitar


The Mills Brothers were the first African-American artists to have their own show on national network radio, on CBS in 1930, and the first to have a #1 hit on the Billboard singles chart, with the Paper Doll in 1943. They were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.


You always hurt the one you love, the one you should not hurt at all; 

You always take the sweetest rose, and crush it till the petals fall;

You always break the kindest heart, with a hasty word you can’t recall;

So if I broke your heart last night, it’s because I love you most of all.

-The Mills Brothers

Interesting Fact:

In 1936, John Jr. died of pneumonia and their father John Sr. replaced him in the quartet. 

In conclusion, I have learned that the Mills Brothers were a very successful quartet. Despite their challenges they kept their group together. They made 2,000 recordings and sold more than 50 million copies and garnered at least three dozen records. I believe this is an astonishing accomplishment making them one of the greatest quartets.

By: Anya Davis

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