Mills Brothers, The: John, Jr.

Mills Brothers, The: John, Jr.

vocal group. Famous for their smooth harmonies and for imitating instruments with their voices, from the 1930s to 1950s they appeared in films and had many hit songs, including "Paper Doll" (1943). Although not especially innovative, the Mills Brothers were among the early African-American musical groups that enjoyed a following among mainstream white Americans. Not generally known is that when John, Jr. died in 1936, his father, John, Sr. (1882–1967; born in Bellefont, Pa.) stepped in until the mid-1950s; thereafter the surviving brothers performed as a trio into the 1970s.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.