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Bob Miller's 1930 song "Twenty-One Years" is mentioned by Bob Dylan in For Dave Glover, Newport Folk Festival program, 1963.

One of the most continuingly popular songwriters in the country genre, from the 1920s until his death in 1955, was the "event" composer par excellence, Bob Miller.

Miller was not of country origin; he was born in 1895, in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis, however, provided him with a social milieu in which he could obtain a close acquaintance with southern melodies.

In the early twenties Miller played the piano for a dance band called the Idlewild Orchestra, which performed on the steamer Idlewild on the Mississippi River. In 1928 he moved to New York where he worked as an arranger for the Irving Berlin Company before establishing his own musical concern, the Bob Miller Publishing Company.

Although he composed numerous blues and popular tunes, the most important items in his repertory ov over seven thousand songs were the hillbilly items. In the decades following the 1920s Miller produced scores of lucrative and lastingly popular compositions, including the well-known "Eleven Cent Cotton and Forty Cent Meat"; the prison song which has inspired countless others, "Twenty One Years"; ...and the World War II hit "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere."

As an event-song writer Miller was always alive to the possibility of exploiting any incident that struck the fancy of the people. In fact, he was sometimes ahead of a story. He supposedly prepared an obituary song for [Louisiana governor] Huey Long two years before his assassination, and even went so far as to predict accurately that the killing would occur in the state Capitol.

Bill C. Malone, Country Music USA, Austin, 1975, pp. 60-61.

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