Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy birthday, Ned Miller!

Henry Ned Miller celebrates his 86th birthday today—and while there’s probably a few of you there asking “And what does he do when he’s not tending bar?” you may be familiar with a song he wrote and recorded entitled From a Jack to a King…a country music standard that was first released in 1957 to nearly unanimous ennui.  Five years later, Miller persuaded his label to re-release the single and watched it become a million-selling single, peaking at #2 on Billboard’s country music charts and (at a time when it wasn’t so unusual) hitting the No. 6 spot in the magazine’s Hot 100 (aka the pop music standings).

A native of Rains, Utah, Ned focused on becoming a songwriter and performer, entertaining at parties and warbling over local radio at the age of 16, only temporarily detouring his chosen career with a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps.  By 1956, he was cashing royalty checks for Dark Moon, a tune he co-wrote that charted both for singer Bonnie Guitar (her version also landed on the country charts) and TV’s My Little Margie, Gale Storm.  A year later, his song A Fallen Star was recorded by fellow country music artist Jimmy “C” Newman, who took the tune to #2 and also experienced a bit of crossover play.

But it was From a Jack to a King that opened up the doors for Miller as a country singer; he scored an additional seven Top 40 country hits from the time of Jack’s rise to the charts until 1970 including Invisible Tears and Do What You Do Well, his only other foray into the Top Ten.  Even after his chart activity slowed to a crawl Ned continued to pen hits for such artists as Faron Young, Porter Wagoner and Hank Snow—Bobby Bare, Connie Smith and even the Ray Conniff Singers all did different covers of Invisible Tears.  You can’t keep a classic country ballad down, though—From a Jack to a King resurfaced again in the 1990s when singer Ricky Van Shelton covered it and took it all the way to the No. 1 spot.  So happy birthday to you, Ned!

From a Jack to a King (Ned Miller's version)

Invisible Tears

Do What You Do Well

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Bill Crider said...

"From a Jack to a King" is a big favorite at Casa Crider, even now.

Jeff Overturf said...

Gale Storm is a big favorite at Casa Jeffy. mmmmmmmmmmmmm.