Millie Kirkham (Mildred Kirkham)

Millie Kirkham

Millie Kirkham

Singer. Kirkham will best be remembered for her soaring soprano vocals which were heard on classic recordings by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others on a number of pop, country and rock ā€˜nā€™ roll recordings from the mid-1950s through the 1980s. Born Mildred Eakes, she started her career singing in the National Life and Accident Insurance Girls’ Glee Club and by 1946, she became a regular performer on legendary country radio station WSM’s broadcasts, including ‘Sunday Down South’. In 1954, she left to focus on recording sessions, just a few years before the rise of the famed “Nashville Sound”. Through her early work with vocal group The Jordanaires (best-known as Presley’s background vocalists) she helped shape that sound. Presley had sought her out after hearing her angelic high notes in the background of Ferlin Husky‘s 1956 hit “Gone”. She appeared on several of Presley’s recordings, such as “The Wonder Of You”, “Surrender”, “How Great Thou Art”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, “Don’t”, “C.C. Rider” and many others. She also sang with him on many of his movie soundtracks and performed with him on stage in the 1970 documentary, ‘Elvis: That’s the Way It Is in Las Vegas’. She also made her mark on George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, Roy Orbison’s “It’s Over”, Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry”, Patti Page’s “These Fools” and Bobby Vinton’s “Blue Velvet”. Kirkham died several days after suffering a stroke.

Born

  • June, 24, 1923
  • Hermitage, Tennessee

Died

  • December, 14, 2014
  • Nashville, Tennessee

Cemetery

  • Woodlawn Memorial Park and Mausoleum
  • Nashville, Tennessee

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