Songwriter Ned Miller Dead at 90
Celebrated songwriter and onetime country artist Ned Miller, whose songs were recorded by a long list of stars in a variety of genres, has passed away at the age of 90.
Born Henry Ned Miller in Rains, Utah in 1925, Miller grew up in Salt Lake City and served in the Marines in World War II. He married Clara "Sue" Magers in 1945, and worked odd jobs before moving to California to write songs.
Miller scored a huge country hit as a performer with "From a Jack to a King," which he wrote and released in 1957. The song was unsuccessful until it was re-released in 1962, when it hit No. 2 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart, and also reached No. 6 in the mainstream Hot 100 and No. 3 in Adult Contemporary.
Despite his hit single, Miller was a very reluctant live performer, according to the New York Times. He suffered such extreme stage fright that he sometimes asked friends to perform shows under his name, and in 1970 he retired entirely from the recording and performing side of the music business, which he said was a big relief.
“If you love shows and like to perform, it’s a great business, but if you don’t, you shouldn’t be in it,” he was quoted in the liner notes of a German album in 1991, according to the Times.
His other hit songs include "Do What You Do Well" and "Invisible Tears," but he is best-known for "From a Jack to a King," which was subsequently cut by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bobby Darin and Ricky Van Shelton, who took the song to No. 1 in 1989. Connie Smith and, bizarrely, Charles Manson would later record their own versions of "Invisible Tears," Rolling Stone reports, and Bing Crosby, Gale Storm, Bonnie Guitar and Chris Isaak have all recorded "Dark Moon," another of Miller's best-known songs.
Miller and his wife Sue, who collaborated with him on some of his biggest hits, retired to White City Ore., and he passed away in Medford, Ore. on March 18. His wife confirmed his death this week. He is survived by his wife; his sister, Bonnie Powell; four daughters, Lynda, Karen, Rhonda and Leslie Miller; a son, Jack; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
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