Photo: Steve Todoroff Archives
Emily “Sweet Emily” Smith Miller-Mundy, longtime supporter of Tulsa music, passed away Friday. She was 69.
“Sweet Emily” was one of the many cast of characters featured in the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. A year later, Leon Russell immortalized “Sweet Emily” with the tenth track on his 1971 album Leon Russell and The Shelter People.
“She had fallen asleep in the control room and was snoring. We had an idea to write a song about her and have it playing when she woke up.” - Leon Russell
“Sweet Emily” was also prominently featured on “Homewood Sessions”, a 1971 one-hour television special on KCET in Los Angeles at the Vine Street Theater on Hollywood and Vine. “Sweet Emily” is described as Leon’s traveling secretary at the beginning of the broadcast. She bakes a pie during the six hour performance.
In 1973, “Sweet Emily” married Edward Simon Peter Miller-Mundy at Leon Russell’s home in the historic Maple Ridge neighborhood in Tulsa. Leon played the wedding march on piano while his “roadies” were costumed like swamis, matadors and one large yellow chicken.
“Emily didn’t play an instrument, was never in a band,” drummer Jim Karstein said. “She was just attracted to the music and wanted to be around it all the time.” - Jimmy Karstein
“Sweet Emily” also owned the Tulsa nightclub Shy Clown that was rumored to have impromptu performances by Eric Clapton and George Harrison. The club closed in 1987.
“Sweet Emily” was the daughter of A. Ray Smith, owner of the Tulsa Oilers, a minor league baseball team in Tulsa from 1961 to 1976.
Memorial services are pending.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sweet Emily’s family and friends.
After the jump, see “Sweet Emily” in more of “Homewood Sessions”.