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The Mills Brothers were a major African-American jazz and pop vocal group of the 20th century producing more than 2,000 recordings that sold more than 50 million copies and garnered at least three dozen gold records.
The group was originally composed of four brothers all born in Piqua, Ohio, just 25 miles north of Dayton: John Jr. (1911-1936) basso and guitarist, Herbert (1912-1989) tenor, Harry (1913-1982) baritone, and Donald (1915-1999) lead tenor.
Their parents were John H. and Eathel Mills. Their father, John Sr., owned a barber shop and founded a barbershop quartet, called the '"Four Kings of Harmony"'.
As the boys grew older, they began singing in the choir of the Cyrene African Methodist Episcopal Church and in the Park Avenue Baptist Church in Piqua. After their lessons at the Spring Street Grammar School, they would gather in front of their father's barbershop on Public Square or at the corner of Greene and Main to sing and play the kazoo to passerbys.