December 1, 2023

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Music Publisher Stanley Mills Dies At 91

Stanley Mills

Former NATIONAL MUSIC PUBLISHERS’ ASSOCIATION and HARRY FOX AGENCY board member STANLEY MILLS, publisher of the “Chicken Dance,” among others, died yesterday at LONG ISLAND JEWISH MEDICAL CENTER in NEW HYDE PARK, NY, at 91.

Born FEBRUARY 18th, 1931, MILLS was the son of legendary music publisher JACK MILLS of MILLS MUSIC. STANLEY founded SEPTEMBER MUSIC (ASCAP) and GALAHAD MUSIC (BMI) in 1968 and represented some of the most influential songs of their time including “Cara Mia,” “Hands Up,”  “My Melody Of Love” and beloved party favorite “Chicken Dance.”

The obscure ’50s polka song became so popular over the years that by the ’90s it was being featured in commercials, television shows and various artist compilations. By 2001, the song became so popular that the WALL STREET JOURNAL wrote a front page cover story on STANLEY MILLS and the origins and success of the song he tirelessly promoted through the decades. The song has become so popular, that each MARCH 14th is now celebrated as NATIONAL DANCE LIKE A CHICKEN DAY.

STANLEY started his career working for his father at MILLS MUSIC. When it was sold to EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING in 1964, STANLEY stayed at the company until 1966 when he left to work for E.B. MARKS, now CARLIN-AMERICA.  In 1968, upon the urging of many of his songwriter friends, STANLEY ventured out on his own with SEPTEMBER and GALAHAD MUSIC. 

MILLS built his catalog one song at a time, via relationships with songwriters he’d worked with over the years like PAUL EVANS and PAUL PARNES (“Happiness Is”) and ARTHUR KENT and SYLVIA DEE (“End Of The World”). Focusing on MOR and later country music songs, STANLEY found success with hits like BOBBY VINTON’s “My Melody Of Love” and “Darlin'” recorded by DAVID ROGERS, TOM JONES and BONNIE RAITT.  

MILLS sold both publishing companies to MEMORY LANE MUSIC in 2015.

STANLEY MILLS is survived by sons KENNETH MILLS of PLANTATION, FL. MITCHELL MILLS of WOODMERE, NY, nephews JOSH MILLS of L.A., CA, PETER ALPERT of LONG ISLAND, NY, TRISH ALPERT of LONG ISLAND, NY and five grandchildren. Services will be private.

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