Ron Miller was a longtime fixture of the Motown songwriting stable, authoring a series of chart-topping pop classics including Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life." Born and raised in Chicago, Miller began writing songs as a teen, beginning with an ode to his beloved but hapless Chicago Cubs. After high school he served a stint in the U.S. Marines, returning to the Windy City to pursue a career in music while supporting himself with a series of odd jobs. While playing in a local piano bar he was introduced to Motown head Berry Gordy, who offered a staff writing and production gig. Later known in industry circles as "the only white guy at Motown," Miller soon relocated to Detroit and in 1966 scored his first Top Ten hit via Wonder's 1966 smash "A Place in the Sun," co-written with Bryan Wells. Wonder recorded a number of Miller songs in the years to follow -- "For Once in My Life," written following the birth of the composer's daughter, was first cut by singer Jean DuShon and issued as a Cadet label single in 1966, and Motown singer Barbara McNair also recorded the tune before Wonder scored a number one hit in the summer of 1967. Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra later cut their own renditions as well. Wonder went on to earn Top Ten entries with Miller's "Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday" and "Heaven Help Us All" before the R&B genius assumed full control of his songwriting and production in 1971. Miller moved on to Diana Ross, teaming with Michael Masser to co-write the diva's number one hit "Touch Me in the Morning." The song was instrumental in cementing Miller's reputation as a composer with a particular gift for penning romantic ballads for women, and he virtually defined the genre with Charlene's classic "I've Never Been to Me," a crossover blockbuster in 1982. Miller also enjoyed success on Broadway, writing the book and lyrics to musicals including Daddy Goodness and Cheery. After an extended battle with emphysema and cancer, he died of cardiac arrest in Santa Monica on July 23, 2007.
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