Music Box Dancer Frank Mills



” Music Box Dancer ” is by Frank Mills, the Canadian pianist, composer and arranger. Frank was born on the 27th of June 1942 in Montreal, Canada. He was raised in Verdun, a borough of Quebec. The city of Verdun was merged with Montreal on January the 1st 2002, founded in 1671; it is one of the oldest cities in Canada.
Frank grew up with the presence of music. His mother was a piano player, his father, although not a professional musician, was known for his rousing Irish tenor. Frank’s sister took piano lessons, and it was from listening to her practice that he began to play the piano at the age of three, mastering it by ear. Both his parents died of cancer by the time he reached the age of 17.
During the latter part of the 1960s, Frank joined The Bells, a Canadian rock band. Formed in the mid-60s in Montreal as The Five Bells, the group had a hit with ” Stay Awhile “, which reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971. Frank had left the band just before the single was released.
He recorded his first solo album, Seven Of My Songs, which produced the single ” Love Me, Love Me Love “. The song debuted on the Canadian Singles Chart in October 1971. Early the following year it reached a peak of number forty-six on the Billboard Hot 100 and number eight on the Billboard Easy Listening Chart in the United States.
Frank released a follow-up single, which was a cover of ” Poor Little Fool “, a Ricky Nelson song. It reached the Top 25 in Canada but only made number 106 in the United States. To date, Frank has composed, arranged and recorded twenty-eight albums, twenty of which have been certified Gold or Platinum status in Canada.
He is a multi-award-winning recording artist. His many awards include Three Canadian JUNO Awards in 1980, 1981 and 1984. He was also awarded two Classics Awards by The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada ( SOCAN ) for 100,000 air plays of his singles ” Love Me, Love Me, Love ” and ” Music Box Dancer “.
Other awards include a New York Film Festival award (for the soundtrack, Ski East) in 1976, RPM Programmers Award in the same year. Frank has also received the International Artist of the Year Award ( Japan ) in 1980 and the same year he won an award for the Top Instrumental Single from Record World Magazine.
” Music Box Dancer ” was released in January 1979 by record label Polydor Records ( Universal Music Group ) and featured on the album of the same name. Frank wrote, arranged, conducted and recorded the album. Music Box Dancer sold over two million copies. The success of the album has netted more than 24 Gold discs worldwide.
Frank had written the tune in 1974 after his daughter asked him to fix a broken music box which had a rotating dancer on the top. The experience gave Frank the inspiration for the tune’s title.
The single was released as the B-side to ” The Poet and I “. Sent to easy-listening stations in Canada, a copy found its way in error to pop music station CFRA-AM, broadcasting from Ottawa.
The program director played ” The Poet and I “, the A-side, but could not work out why it had been sent to the station. The B-side was performed to see if the record label had been mismarked. He liked the B-side and added it to the CFRA-AM playlist.
The song became a success at the station, making its debut on their Top Thirty Chart on the 5th of May 1978; by the 30th of June, it was the top song on the station’s playlist. At the time, ” Music Box Dancer ” also started to gain airplay on other Canadian channels, helping to turn it into a nationwide hit.
Airplay of the single earned a Million-Airs award from Broadcast Music, Inc. ( BMI ) for over a million radio plays. Sheet music sales have passed three million copies. In 1980 the song received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Instrumental.
” Music Box Dancer ” was a commercial success for Frank. In the United States, the song reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100, spending twenty weeks on the chart there. It also reached number four on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks Chart and number two on the Cash Box Top 100 Chart.
The song didn’t chart in the United Kingdom. It did make the charts in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: 3

UK Highest Chart Position: N/A

Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Switzerland 1, Germany 12, Austria 16, Netherlands 21, Belgium 11, Canada 3, Australia 14, New Zealand 2

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