Roger Miller wrote this song in four minutes in a Phoenix hotel room. He pictured himself sitting in a booth at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, the legendary musician's hangout.
Jerry Kennedy, the album's producer, had the tune "Less And Less" in mind for the lead single until he saw his kids' reaction to "Dang Me." He explained: "My kids came screaming down the stairs when 'Dang Me' came on. They thought that was the greatest thing they'd ever heard. I started playing it over and over and over again, and I said, 'What have I done?'"
Luckily, Kennedy was able to convince the label to scrap "Less And Less" - which ended up on Miller's 1966 album, Words And Music - in favor of "Dang Me," which became the singer's first #1 Country hit. It was also his first Top 10 entry on the Hot 100.
Several artists have covered this, including Buck Owens, Sammy Davis Jr., Willie Nelson & Jack Ingram, Ray Stevens, Johnny Cash, Toby Keith, and Brad Paisley.
Miller won a slew of Grammy Awards at the 1965 ceremony, with this song taking the prizes for Best Country Song, Best Country And Western Recording, Single, and Best Country And Western Performance, Male. Miller was also named Best New Country and Western Artist and the album earned Best Country And Western Album.
Miller sang this as part of a medley during a 1979 appearance on The Muppet Show
. As The Muppets fall victim to an outbreak of cluckitis, which turns them into chickens, Miller is sympathetic as a former sufferer of cluckitis himself. The transformed Muppets act as his backing singers. The show was careful not to pander too much to the kiddie portion of their audience, which is evident in this performance. For example, the standout lyric in the "Dang Me" portion is the not-so-child-friendly, "They oughta take a rope and hang me, high from the highest tree." But the chickens seem to like it!
This was used in the movies The Mule (2018), Operation Dumbo Drop (1995), and Off Limits (1998). It was also used on The Simpsons in the 2001 episode "The Parent Rap."
The song's success changed the course of Miller's career almost immediately. "The day 'Dang Me' was released, I played a little club in northern California for seventy-five dollars," Miller recalled in an interview with William Whitwood. "Had four people in the audience and got a hot check. But in about a week my phone started ringing. Wanting to do this and that, and pictures, and busy, busy, busy. After that, uh, I don't know what became of me after that."