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Ron Miller (songwriter)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ronald Norman Miller (October 5, 1932 – July 23, 2007)[1] was an American popular songwriter and record producer who wrote for Motown artists in the 1960s and 1970s and attained many Top 10 hits. Some of his songs, such as "For Once in My Life," have become pop standards.

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  • R. Dean Taylor - Gotta See Jane



History and career

Ron Miller was described by his daughter Lisa as "a young, Jewish songwriter with a very Rodgers & Hammerstein musical theater writing style" who "wrote of peace and hope for a better tomorrow during a time of war and the Civil Rights movement. He didn’t just write about it. He lived it."[2]

Born as Robert Norman Gould in Chicago, Ron Miller was the only son of Sue and Harry Gould; Harry died when Miller and his sisters were still very young, and, after his mother remarried Joe Miller, Ron Miller adopted his stepfather's surname . Ron Miller served in the U.S. Marines and then sold washing machines before he was discovered by Motown founder Berry Gordy while playing in a bar.[3]

After his discovery by Gordy and Motown executive Mickey Stevenson in Chicago in the early 1960's[2], Miller was invited to write songs for Gordy's new company, Motown. Miller responded by penning the lyrics to "For Once in My Life", to music by Orlando Murden. The song was written the night Miller's daughter Angel was born and was first recorded at Motown by Barbara McNair before being covered in a more upbeat style by Stevie Wonder. It is one of the most covered songs in pop history with more than 270 recorded versions. A version recorded by Tony Bennett and Wonder won a Grammy Award in 2007.[3]

Miller co-wrote several other hit songs for Stevie Wonder, including "A Place in the Sun", "Heaven Help Us All", and "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday". A version of "Heaven Help Us All" by Ray Charles and Gladys Knight won a Grammy Award for best gospel performance in 2005. He also co-wrote Diana Ross' 1973 hit "Touch Me in the Morning", and Charlene's "I've Never Been To Me".

During the 1970s, Miller wrote lyrics for several musicals, including Cherry and Daddy Goodness.[3] With lyrics by Miller and compositions by Tom Baird, Cherry was launched in 1970 as a musical version of William Inge's Bus Stop but never made it to Broadway. "I've Never Been a Woman Before" from Cherry was recorded by both Shirley Bassey and Barbra Streisand (on her The Way We Were album).[3]

Adapted from the same-titled play by Richard Wright and Louis Sapin, the Daddy Goodness musical ran into severe trouble while still in tryouts on the road in Philadelphia and Washington D.C., where it closed without ever getting to Broadway, even though it had been scheduled to open on the Great White Way at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 25, 1979.[4] The song "Hungry" from Daddy Goodness was recorded by both Freda Payne and Charlene.

Miller once again collaborated with composer Ken Hirsch, his partner for "I've Never Been to Me" and Daddy Goodness, on the musical Clothespins and Dreams[5][6], which premiered in 1990 at the California Music Theatre[7] in Pasadena, California, after snippets from the show had already been presented at a meeting of the National Alliance of Music Theaters in Century City in 1988.[5]

Miller authored the lyrics to "If I Could" as a tribute to his own children. Co-written with Hirsch and Marti Sharron, the ballad was recorded by Celine Dion for her 2004 Miracle album. The song has also been covered by many other artists, including Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Michael Bolton, Regina Belle, Nancy Wilson and Miller's own daughter, Lisa Dawn Miller, on her CD, Fly Away.

Miller died on July 23, 2007, of cardiac arrest at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, after a long battle with emphysema and cancer.

Personal life

After an earlier union ended in divorce, Miller subsequently married Aurora Rivera, from whom he later separated. Miller has six children: Angel, Lisa, Mark, Debbie, Julie and Gary. At the time of his passing, Miller's companion was Janis Waller.[1]

Miller has seven grandchildren, including singer and actor Oliver Richman.

Selected list of Miller songs

See also


  1. ^ a b "Ron Miller, 74; Wrote Many Hit Pop Songs For Motown Records". Retrieved 2018-12-05.
  2. ^ a b "Lisa Dawn Miller-Hackett: 'For Once in My Life' honors my father, Ron Miller". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  3. ^ a b c d "Ron Miller". Telegraph. July 25, 2007. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  4. ^ "'Daddy Goodness' Musical Closes in Washington". Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  5. ^ a b KLEIN, KAREN E. (1990-08-08). "Keeping It Music to Their Ears :  Stage: A pair of songwriters agree to let a Pasadena theater put on the world premiere of their musical in return for artistic control". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  6. ^ SHIRLEY, DON (1990-08-13). "STAGE REVIEW :  'Clothespins' Has Hang-Ups". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  7. ^ SHIRLEY, DON (1992-05-24). "California Music Theatre Creator Surveys the Wreckage of a Dream". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-11-29.
  8. ^ "Let me tickle your fancy". Jermaine Jackson Entertainment. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
This page was last edited on 12 December 2018, at 01:45
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