- Mrs Mills
Gladys Mills, née Gladys Jordan (1918 – 24 February 1978), better known as Mrs Mills, was a British popular pianist who was active in the 1960s and who released many records. Her repertoire included many "sing-along" and "party" tunes made popular in the music-hall.
Mills' uncle Henry was a harp player and her mother was a main influence in developing her musical ability. She took piano lessons from the age of three and a half until the age of seven.
After working as the superintendent of the typing pool in the office of the Paymaster General in London, in December 1961 she made her first television appearance on The Billy Cotton Show, having been spotted by a talent scout at a Woodford Golf Club dance near her home in Loughton, Essex, where she lived most of her life. She would become a household name by the end of January 1962.
Mills was signed to a management contract by Eric Easton who later went on to manage The Dave Clark Five and The Rolling Stones. After signing to Parlophone, her first release - the "Mrs Mills Medley" single - entered the Top Twenty of the UK Singles Chart, and her career as an entertainer began - a career that would last well into the 1970s. She toured the UK, making many appearances on TV and radio throughout this period. Mrs Mills was also a successful recording artist overseas in territories where there were large numbers of expatriates from the UK including Australia, Canada and Hong Kong.
Her oeuvre consisted of standards (British and international), plus cover versions of contemporary hits. A 2003 release (The Very Best Of Mrs Mills, on EMI Gold) includes such hits as "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", "Hello, Dolly!", "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" and "Yellow Submarine".
She appeared on two episodes of The Morecambe and Wise Show in 1971 and 1974, where she performed a medley of favourites with the studio orchestra. Another rare example of Mrs Mills' style of performance came in an edition of the BBC TV's The Two Ronnies. The sketch (Family Entertainment - John & Mrs Mills) occupied the end-of-the-show musical slot, with Ronnie Barker as the silk-laden Mrs Mills at piano, and Ronnie Corbett as a uniformed Sir John Mills (who was no relation). They performed a medley of Mills-style classics (on the theme of Mills' character in the 1969 film Oh! What A Lovely War). (NB: The show (series 4; episode 4) was originally broadcast on BBC 2 on 23 January 1975.) In 1973 she appeared in an episode of The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club.
In December 1974 she appeared as the subject of This Is Your Life, hosted by Eamonn Andrews, when it was revealed that the first record she had made had been "The Girl In Calico", cut in a make-your-own-record booth on Southend Pier, for a half-crown, with her girlhood pal Lily Dormer.
Little was seen of Mrs Mills on television in her final years. Mrs Mills died on 24 February 1978. Loughton Town Council commissioned a blue plaque to her memory on the house at 43, Barncroft Close, where she lived for many years.
A Best Of CD was released by the EMI Gold imprint, another CD (The Mrs Mills Collection) appeared on the HMV Easy label, and a list of her UK output (according to a vast - now lost - Parlophone listing from the web) is as follows (catalogue number (month/year of issue) title):
EMI/Parlophone Records - Singles (all mono; *with The Geoff Love Orchestra)
- R 4856 (00/61) “Mrs Mills Medley” parts 1&2
- R 4863 (00/62) “Popcorn”/”Bobbikins”
- R 4933* (00/62) “Entry Of The Tradiators”/”South Rampart Street Parade”
- R 4975 (00/63) “Mrs Mills Hoe-Down Party” parts 1&2
- R 5008 (00/63) “Bubblin’ Over”/”The First Waltz”
- R 5081 (00/63) “We’re Gonna Throw A Little Party (Y’ All Come)”/”Ten Green Bottles”
- R 5214 (00/64) “Mrs Mills’ Party Medley” parts 1&2
- R 5238 (00/64) “Mrs Mills’ Minstrel Medley” parts 1&2
- R 5367 (11/65) “Mrs Mills’ Party Medley” parts 1&2
- R 5399 (01/66) “Newsboy”/”Someone Like You”
- R 5549 (12/66) “Glad Today Medley”/”Glad Yesterday Medley”
- R 5599 (04/67) “I Was Queen Victoria’s Chambermaid”/”Thank You Everybody”
- R 5653* (11/67) “Party Hit Parade” parts 1&2
- R 5678 (00/68) “Candy Floss”/”Indian Summer”
- R 5748 (00/68) “Glad’s Party” parts 1&2
- R 5822 (11/69) "Battle Of Britain Medley"/"A Wee Drop Of Scotch"
- R 5834 (00/70) “The Champs Elysees”/”Kiss Curl Caper” (listed as Mrs Mills And Her Happy Piano)
- R 5877 (11/70) “Mrs Mills’ Minstrel Medley” parts 1&2
- R 5950 (04/72) “Sunshine”/”Bobbikins”
EMI/Parlophone Records - EPs (all mono)
- GEP 8861 (00/62) “The Happy Piano Player” (released in NZ as MGEP 8861)
- GEP 8865 (00/62) “Mrs Mills Plays The Roaring Twenties”
- GEP 8918 (00/64) “Everybody’s Welcome At Mrs Mills’ Party”
- GEP 8935 (00/63) “Any Time’s Party Time With Mrs Mills”
- GEP 8943 (00/65) “It’s Party Time!”
- GEP 8958 (00/66) “Mrs Mills’ Party”
EMI/Parlophone Records - LPs (PMC: mono, PCS: stereo)
- PMC 1178 (00/62) Mrs Mills Plays The Roaring Twenties, also released in 1962 by The World Record Club in Great Britain, on their label, number ST994, showing a portrait cover art
- PMC 1212 (11/63) Everybody’s Welcome at Mrs Mills' Party
- PMC 1234 (00/64) It's Party Time!
- PMC 1254* (09/65) Music For Anytime
- PMC 1264 (11/65) Mrs Mills' Party
- PCS 3030 (00/62) Mrs Mills Plays The Roaring Twenties
- PCS 3049 (11/63) Everybody's Welcome at Mrs Mills' Party
- PCS 3070 (09/65) Music For Anytime
- PCS 3074 (11/65) Mrs Mills' Party
- PMC/PCS 7002 (04/66) Especially For You
- PMC/PCS 7010 (00/66) Come To My Party
- PMC/PCS 7020 (04/67) Look Mum - No Hands!
- PCS 7035 (12/67) Let's Have Another Party
- PCS 7046 (04/68) Summer Party
- PCS 7066 (11/68) Party Pieces
- PCS 7080 (07/69) Back To The Roaring Twenties
- PCS 7087 (01/70) Party Mixture
- PCS 7117 (11/70) Bumper Bundle Party
- PCS 7129 (07/71) More Music For Anytime
- PCS 7143 (01/72) Music Hall Party
- PCS 7152 (07/72) Anytime Is Party Time
- PCS 7153 (10/72) Another Flippin’ Party
- PCS 7166 (06/74) Hollywood Party
- PCS 7167 (11/74) It's Party Time Again
EMI/Music For Pleasure Records - LPs (all stereo)
- MFP 5225 (00/66) I'm Mighty Glad
- MFP 1406 (00/67) Your One and Only Mrs Mills
- MFP 50009 (00/74) Piano Singalong (released in Australia on Axis label, featuring a Straube player-piano as the album art)
- MFP 50220 (00/75) Glad with Love (Mrs Mills and Geoff Love Singalong Together)
- MFP 50230 (00/75) Mrs Mills Knees-Up Party
Other Recordings (all stereo)
- Regal Starline Records: SRS 5029 (00/70) Party Sing-Along (released in Australia on EMI Parlophone label)
- Regal Starline Records: SRS 5089 (00/71) All Time Party Dances (released in Australia on EMI Parlophone label)
- EMI/Encore Records: ONCR 508 (00/71) All Time Party Dances and Other Favourites (released in Australia on Axis label, comprising All Time Party Dances LP, plus selected tracks from other Parlophone albums)
- EMI/One-Up Records: OU 2076 (00/7?) It's Party Time! (reissue) (Also released in Scotland, with album art showing Mrs Mills with various cute puppies)
- EMI/One-Up Records: OU 2197 (00/77) Glad Tidings - Mrs Mills Christmas Party
- EMI/Sounds Superb Records: SPR 90012 (00/73) Non-Stop Honky-Tonk Party (blue or purple background)
- EMI/Double-Up Records: DUO 108 (00/7-) What A Wonderful Party (double album - chimps cover) Selections from this double album were released in Australia as Parlophone SPMEO 10164 "What A Wonderful Party", with a cartoon-style piano cover
- EMI/Double-Up Records: DUO 122 (00/76) Jumbo-Party (double album - elephant cover) These albums were released separately in Australia as Jumbo Party Volume 1 and 2, EMI EMB 10383 and 10384 respectively
- My Mother The Ragtime Piano Player - 6 track, 33rpm 7" EP - Liberty LST-7359, USA (consisting of selections from Mrs Mills Plays The Roaring 20s)
- My Mother The Ragtime Piano Player – 33rpm 12” album – Liberty LRP-3359 (mono) or LST-7359 (stereo) – US release of Mrs Mills Plays The Roaring 20s
- Auld Lang Syne / Happy Birthday (distributed in South Africa)
- "Smile Smile Smile" / "Da-Dar Da-Dar" - 7 inch single (EMI 2228) UK
- For Your Party - Mrs Mills Sings And Plays - EMI Records - EMC 3092 (1975)
- Piano Party Time - Music For Pleasure DL 41 1058 3 - double album, a 1984 re-release of Music For Anytime and Mrs Mills Party
- Mrs Mills & Russ Conway - Let's Have A Party - Capitol Canada ST6082 (Mrs Mills content consists of various singles such as Entry Of The Tradiators and Ten Green Bottles, plus two tracks from Mrs Mills Plays The Roaring 20s
- Another Party With Mrs Mills - Capitol Canada ST6151 (Canadian release of Mrs Mills Party)
- Mrs Mills - Am Schräger Klavier (At The Diagonal Piano) - Deutscher Schallplattenclub H-044 (German release of Mrs Mills Plays The Roaring 20s)
- Candy Floss / Someone Like You – Telemark Dance Records 892 (USA) 7 inch single
- Mrs Mills Crazy Party - German release, on S*R International label, number 74989-P12, consisting of various selections from Mrs Mills Plays The Roaring 20s interspersed with traditional jazz tunes from The New Orleans Hot Dogs
- Mrs Mills Klimperkasten Potpourri - EMI Odeon O 23 390 - German release of Glad Today and Glad Yesterday - 7 inch 45rpm single
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