Ned Miller, Composer of “From a Jack to a King,” Dead at 90

Country Hit Covered by Ricky Van Shelton, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves and Others

Singer-songwriter Ned Miller, best known for writing and recording “From a Jack to a King,” died March 18 in Medford, Oregon. at the age of 90. His death was not revealed until this week, according to The New York Times. Miller’s wife confirmed his death to the newspaper.

“From a Jack to a King” was twice a top country hit, first a No. 2 in 1963 for Miller and then a No. 1 in 1989 for Ricky Van Shelton. Miller’s version also rose to No. 6 on the pop charts.

Henry Ned Miller was born April 12, 1925 in Raines, Utah. He moved to California in the mid-1950s seeking a career in music. There he signed to Fabor Records and released “From a Jack to a King” on that label in 1957. However, it failed to chart. The subsequent release, also on Fabor, did.

Jim Reeves recorded “From a Jack to a King” in South Africa in 1962, where it became a hit.

The song was also covered by Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, but neither of their covers charted.

Although “From a Jack” was his biggest success as a songwriter, Miller’s “Dark Moon” also did extraordinarily well. Recorded by both Bonnie Guitar and TV star Gale Storm in versions charting just a week apart in April 1957, it became a No. 4 pop hit for Storm and a No. 6 for Guitar.

Guitar’s recording of “Dark Moon” also scored a No. 14 on the country charts.

In 1965, Sonny James had a three-week No. 1 with “Behind the Tear,” which Miller co-wrote with his wife, Sue.

Miller continued to record for Fabor until 1965 when he switched to Capitol Records. He wrote or co-wrote every one of the 11 songs he charted, including “Invisible Tears” (No. 13) and “Do What You Do Do Well” (No. 7)

Disinclined to tour to support his records and reputedly afflicted with stage fright, he retired from music in 1970.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.