Songwriter Ned Miller, whose songs were recorded by Ricky Van Shelton and Connie Smith, as well as Bing Crosby and Charles Manson, died last month in Medford, Oregon. According to the New York Times, Miller passed away on March 18th and his death was confirmed this week by his wife, and fellow songwriter, Sue Miller. He was 90 years old.
Born Henry Ned Miller in Rains, Utah, Miller was raised in Salt Lake City and joined the Marines, serving in World War II. He made his chart debut as a recording artist with the first of two Top Ten hits. The shuffling “From a Jack to a King,” logged four weeks at the Number Two spot on Billboard‘s country chart, and also hit Number Six on the pop survey in 1963. Others who recorded it included Bobby Darin and Elvis Presley. In 1989, it became the fifth consecutive Number One country hit for singer Ricky Van Shelton. (Listen to Shelton’s version below.)
Recording for the Capitol label, Miller reached Number 7 in 1965 with “Do What You Do Do Well,” which he penned with his wife. Another of their collaborations, “Invisible Tears,” would later be recorded by Connie Smith and also by cult leader Charles Manson in the late Sixties. “Dark Moon,” another of Miller’s best-known tunes, has been covered by dozens of performers for decades, including Bing Crosby, Gale Storm, Bonnie Guitar, and, in 1993, by Chris Isaak.
Miller’s own performing career was cut short by bouts of stage fright, which he sometimes combated by sending a friend to perform as “Ned Miller” in his place. After he and his wife moved to California, Miller no longer performed but continued writing songs. He is survived by his wife, a sister, four daughters, a son, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.