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Grammy winner Jody Miller, known for her 1965 hit “Queen of the House,” died on Thursday, Oct. 6, in Blanchard, Oklahoma, due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease. Miller was 80.
The Oklahoma native signed to Capitol Records as a folk artist in 1962 and released her debut album, Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe, in 1963. She earned her first Billboard Hot 100 entry with “He Walks Like a Man” in 1964. A year later, Miller’s “Queen of the House,” an answer to Roger Miller’s (no relation, though both artists were both raised in Oklahoma) “King of the Road,” became a crossover hit, traversing the country and pop charts, reaching the top five on the Hot Country Singles chart, and No. 12 on Billboard’s Hot 100. “Queen of the House” would earn Miller a Grammy win in the best country & western vocal performance-female category (she was also nominated for best new country & western artist that year) in 1966 (during that same ceremony, Roger Miller earned six Grammy wins for “King of the Road” and his album The Return of Roger Miller).
In the 1960s and 1970s, she ultimately placed 27 entries on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, including five top 5 hits such as “Baby I’m Yours,” “There’s a Party Goin’ On” and “Darling, You Can Always Come Back Home.” In the 1970s, Miller began recording for Epic Records in Nashville, working with renowned producer Billy Sherrill (George Jones, Tammy Wynette). Miller also earned another crossover hit with a cover of The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” (which netted Miller a Grammy nomination for best country vocal performance-female).
By the 1980s, Miller retired from the road to spend time with her family, including husband Monty Brooks and daughter Robin. She also helped to manage Brooks’ quarter horse breeding and training business at their farm in Blanchard, Oklahoma. In the 1990s, she recorded several gospel albums.
After the death of her husband Brooks in 2014, Miller performed with her daughter and grandchildren as Jody Miller & Three Generations (in 2018, they released the single “Where My Picture Hangs on the Wall”). In 2018, Miller was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, as part of an all-female class that also included Susie McEntire and Gayla Peevey. In 2020, Miller recorded her last project, the upcoming album Wayfaring Stranger, which is slated to release via Heart of Texas Records.
“Jody Miller’s talent cannot be overstated,” said Miller’s longtime representative Jennifer McMullen. “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.”
Miller is survived by her sisters Carol Cooper and Vivian Cole; daughter Robin Brooks Sullivan and her husband Shawn Sullivan; grandson Montana Sullivan and granddaughter Layla Sullivan.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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