Jan 11, 2021: Don Miller of ’60s Singing Group, The Vogues, Dies at 80

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The Vogues, top to bottom: Bill Burkette, Don Miller, Chuck Blasko and Hugh Geyer (Uncredited photo via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Don Miller, one of the original members of the Vogues singing group that came to prominence in the 1960s with such songs as “Five O’Clock World” and “You’re the One,” died January 11, 2021. Word of his passing at age 80 had been the subject on various internet music forums for several days and was confirmed by his family on Jan. 15. No cause of death was listed though his death notice indicated that it was unexpected.

The Vogues were initially formed in 1958 as the Vel-Aires by high school friends Bill Burkette (the baritone lead singer), tenors Hugh Geyer and Chuck Blasko, and Miller, also a baritone, in the Pittsburgh, Penn., suburb of Turtle Creek. Their first recording, with producer Nick Cenci, was a cover of the Petula Clark song, “You’re the One.” The single received national distribution and climbed the charts, reaching #4 in November 1965.

A follow-up session yielded the song “Five O’Clock World,” with Burkette’s vocal, offers counter-melodies and harmonies from the group, with a distinctive yodel after the chorus. The song’s lyrics focus on the anticipation of the the whistle blowing signaling the end of another work day. It, too, reached #4 on the Hot 100, in January 1966.

This ad appeared in the Dec. 4, 1965, issue of Record World

The group enjoyed two more Top 10 hits with covers of “Turn Around, Look at Me” and “My Special Angel,” both in 1968.

Miller left the group in 1975 and worked as a financial advisor in advertising until his retirement in 2001.

Miller and his wife of 55 years, Peggy, split their time in New Port Richey, Fla., and in Pittsburgh. The Vogues were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. Burkette died on March 1, 2018, at age 75.

A new Vogues collection, The Complete Singles and More, was released in 2023.

The TV sitcom, The Drew Carey Show, used “Five O’Clock World” for its theme song, with their program’s trademark choreography.

“You’re the One” was featured in the 2020 Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit.

Related: Musicians we lost in 2021

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5 Comments so far

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  1. Rick
    #1 Rick 15 January, 2021, 18:19

    Was never a Drew Carey fan but that video was cool

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  2. Phil
    #2 Phil 2 April, 2021, 14:09

    Would really love to get in touch with Hugh Geyer just to jaw about the 60’s music scene! His voice is just liquid silk! Anyone know how to contact him?

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    • Claire
      Claire 15 June, 2021, 18:16

      If you send me your info I have his Brice is my cousin and that may be a contact.

      Reply this comment
    • Michael C. Vassallo
      Michael C. Vassallo 14 February, 2023, 14:03

      Your best bet is to follow the Vogues’ page on Facebook and express your liking for their music. Hugh Geyer’s wife is a member. I’m sure she will respond to something that you post on that page. Worth a shot. I’ve gotten in touch with her that way myself – and I’m hoping that one day I will talk to Hugh and tell him how much I love their music. Good luck!

      Reply this comment
  3. Grant ARMSTRONG
    #3 Grant ARMSTRONG 28 September, 2022, 00:39

    The ORIGINAL Vogues were my All time favourite group. THERE WILL NEVER be another group such as these four – Billy Burkette, Chuck Blasko, Donny Miller and Hugh Geyer. These are THE ORIGINALS, and THE BEST. No imposters for me thanks. I was saddened to hear of the passing of Donny MILLER and Billy BURKETTE . Thank you four for the wonderful memories, and helping me to re-live my teenage years. I listen to your music serval times each week. May Almighty God Bless all of you and Grant Eternal Rest to the souls of Billy and Donny.

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