Often and unjustly forgotten in discussions of the tunesmiths who populated the famed Brill Building, Aldon Music staff writer Helen Miller nevertheless composed a series of pop and R&B classics to rival any of her more celebrated colleagues, among them Gene Pitney's "It Hurts to Be in Love" and Barbara Lewis' "Make Me Your Baby." Perhaps befitting her relative anonymity, little is known of Miller's upbringing and formative career. She first earned notoriety as a composer in the years following World War II, often in collaboration with lyricist Fay Manus. Despite some success, Miller spent the 1950s out of music, dedicating her energy to raising her family. In 1961, Aldon co-owner Don Kirschner added her to the company's growing stable of writers, and while well into her forties (a generation older than her colleagues), she nevertheless proved her commercial acumen by teaming with lyricist Howard Greenfield for a clutch of hits including Lesley Gore's "All of My Life," the Shirelles' "Foolish Little Girl," and Patty Michaels' "They're Dancing Now." Miller and Greenfield originally penned "It Hurts to Be in Love" for Neil Sedaka, also co-producing his original recording of the song. RCA insisted he recut the tune in their studios, however, so its authors instead recorded a second version with Pitney, notching a Top Ten pop hit in 1964. Miller also teamed with deep soul belter Freddie Scott for a number of songs, and after leaving Aldon signed with Metromedia, where she collaborated with lyricist Estelle Levitt. Miller retired from music in the early '80s, relocating to Florida with her husband. She died February 2, 2006.
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