GRAMMY-winning recording artist JODY MILLER passed away YESTERDAY (10/6) at her home in BLANCHARD, OK, from complications related to Parkinson’s disease at the age of 80.
MILLER first signed to CAPITOL RECORDS as a Folk artist in 1962, landing her first single, “He Walks Like a Man,” on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in 1964. Her debut album, “Wednesday’s Child Is Full Of Woe,” originally released in 1963, was recorded at the CAPITOL STUDIOS in LOS ANGELES with the “Wrecking Crew” musicians, including GLEN CAMPBELL, BILLY STRANGE and JACK MARSHALL. It included her first hit single, “He Walks LIke A Man.”
Best known for her 1965 hit “Queen Of The House,” MILLER became a Country star overnight when the single crossed over from the Pop to Country charts, cementing her status as a pioneering crossover artist whose radio-friendly versatility paved the way for the likes of fellow artists such as LINDA RONSTADT, ANNE MURRAY and OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN. In 1966, MILLER went on to win the GRAMMY Award for the song, becoming the second woman to pick up the trophy for “Best Country Performance—Female.”
According to her longtime representative, JENNIFER McMULLEN, “MILLER’s talent cannot be overstated. She had this innate, GOD-given ability to interpret and communicate with the most beautiful tones and inflection. She made it look and sound so easy that it sometimes takes a moment to realize the greatness of what you are hearing. But she was just as authentic and exceptional in her own life as she was on stage and on record.”
Throughout the ’60s, MILLER recorded for CAPITOL, releasing singles such as the hit teen Pop anthem “Home Of The Brave”, as well as the fan favorite “Long Black Limousine,” while making multiple appearances on teen shows such as “Shindig” and “American Bandstand.”
In the ’70s, MILLER began recording for EPIC RECORDS in NASHVILLE, working with BILLY SHERRILL, notching Top 50 singles with “Baby I’m Yours,” “There’s A Party Goin’ On,” “Darling, You Can Always Come Back Home,” and the GRAMMY-nominated crossover hit “He’s So Fine.” MILLER became a frequent guest on shows such as “Hee Haw” and “Pop! Goes The Country.”
In the early ’80s, MILLER retired from touring to spend time at home with her daughter ROBIN and husband MONTY BROOKS, helping to manage his thriving quarter-horse breeding and training business at their farm in BLANCHARD, OK In the early ’90s, MILLER became a born-again CHRISTIAN and began a Gospel music ministry, sharing her testimony through story and song, recording half a dozen Gospel albums, culminating in her induction into the INTERNATIONAL COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME.
MILLER was deeply devoted to her family. Following the death of her husband of 52 years MONTY, MILLER began performing with her daughter ROBIN BROOKS SULLIVAN and her grandchildren, MONTANA and LAYLA SULLIVAN as JODY MILLER & THREE GENERATIONS, releasing a single in 2018, “Where My Picture Hangs On The Wall.”
In 2021, MILLER attended the groundbreaking for a BLANCHARD PUBLIC SCHOOL building named for her, The JODY MILLER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, an honor which she called “better than a GRAMMY.” Dealing with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in the past few years, MILLER made the decision to enter the studio one last time in 2020 for an upcoming project, “Wayfaring Stranger,” on HEART OF TEXAS RECORDS. The title spiritual song, part of the artist’s Folk repertoire back in the ’60s, seems a fitting bookend to her 60-year career. As label Pres. TRACY PILCOX put it, “JODY lived her life, just as she conducted her career, with the utmost class and dignity.”
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in MILLER’s name to PLEASANT HILL BAPTIST CHURCH in BLANCHARD, OK. Funeral arrangements are currently pending.