Cruise Down Memory Lane with Dean Martin’s ‘King of The Road’

Dean Martin was an American singer, actor, comedian, and film producer. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Martin was nicknamed the “King of Cool” for his seemingly effortless charisma and self-assurance. He bootlegged liquor, served as a speakeasy croupier, was a blackjack dealer, worked in a steel mill, and boxed as a welterweight. He sang with local bands, calling himself “Dino Martini.”

Dean got his break working for the Ernie McKay Orchestra. He sang in a crooning style influenced by Harry Mills, among others. In the early 1940s, he started singing for bandleader Sammy Watkins, who suggested he change his name to Dean Martin.


Martin worked for various bands throughout the early 1940s, mostly on looks and personality, until he developed his own singing style. Dean Martin’s voice here is smooth as silk singing one of the best songs of all time.

This 1965 sing-along classic was written and originally performed by Roger Miller. An old-fashioned hobo song, “King of the Road,” has since been sung by many famous performers, but Dino here takes the cake. His mellow and chipper delivery of this always-delightful song during the benefit concert, The Frank Sinatra Spectacular, happened only months before Martin would get his own TV show.


The Rat Pack was together for this event, but Martin shines solo for this song even while being teased mercilessly towards the end of the performance. Dean Martin always was a class act, and this performance only hits that fact right home, so watch, and you’ll agree.

Cruise Down Memory Lane with Dean Martin\'s \'King of The Road\'