Ned Miller: The Shy Man Behind “From a Jack to a King”

In the first week of May 2016, it was announced that singer-songwriter Ned Miller had passed away at the age of 90 in Medford, Oregon. Miller had written such songs as “Dark Moon,” “Do What You Do Well,” and “Invisible Tears.” But his best-known song was “From a Jack to a King,” which in 1963 went to number six on the Billboard pop chart (and number two on the country chart). The song also was covered by artists like Bobby Darin and Elvis Presley.

Miller’s version of “From a Jack to a King” was initially released in 1957 and it initially did not do well. But a record company rereleased it in 1962, and for some reason the song about a man’s happiness at finding the right woman caught on the second time.

But Miller — who was born in Utah as Henry Ned Miller on April 12, 1925 — never enjoyed the limelight. He did little touring to support “From a Jack to a King,” and he often suffered stage fright. He would sometimes ask friends to perform under his name, and he eventually stopped performing altogether because of his shyness. He stopped recording in 1970, relieved to be out of the music business.

Another popular song that Miller wrote was “Dark Moon,” which has been recorded by Gale Storm, Chris Isaak, and Bing Crosby. Below is Isaac’s version of “Dark Moon,” which he released in 1993 as a single. The song later appeared on the album Best of Chris Isaak (2006).

Because of Miller’s preference for avoiding the spotlight, it seems fitting that his death was announced to the public nearly two months after he passed away on March 18, 2016. But we are lucky that for a period this shy man shared a little of himself with us.

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