Starting in 1925 in Ohio the Mills Brothers became a local sensation by
recreating instruments with the voices, while usually limiting the accompaniment to a guitar.
They were among the first performers to rely on a studio device (the
microphone) for the sound of their music.
They relocated to New York in 1930, where they continued to "impersonate" jazz
Their interpretations of
Nick LaRocca's Tiger Rag (1931),
Goodbye Blues (1932),
Dinah (1932), with Bing Crosby,
Elmer Schoebel's Bugle Call Rag (1932),
Hoagy Carmichael's Lazy Bones (1934),
Paper Doll (1943), that remained perhaps their signature song,
Doris Fisher's You Always Hurt the One You Love (1944) and
The Glow Worm (1952)
were mellow sentimental ballads that redefined black music for the broader audience.
They popularized the "barbershop harmonies", a sweet and romantic mutation of the jubilee quartets which would become the reference standard for all future vocal groups.
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