Jimmy Miller

Last updated

Jimmy Miller
Born(1942-03-23)March 23, 1942
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
DiedOctober 22, 1994(1994-10-22) (aged 52)
Denver, Colorado, United States
OccupationRecord producer, musician
Spouse(s) Gayle Shepherd (divorced)
Geri Miller (1970 to 1991)
Children2, 1 stepson
Parent(s)Anne Wingate
Bill Miller
Family Judith Miller (half-sister)

James Miller (March 23, 1942 – October 22, 1994) was an American record producer and musician. While he produced albums for dozens of different bands and artists, he is most closely associated for his work with several key musical acts of the 1960s and 1970s. He rose to prominence working with the various bands of vocalist Steve Winwood (including Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, and Blind Faith). His best acclaimed work was his late 1960s-early 1970s work with the Rolling Stones for whom he produced a string of singles and albums that rank among the most critically and financially successful works of the band's career: Beggars Banquet (1968), Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), Exile on Main St. (1972) and Goats Head Soup (1973). [1] In the late 1970s, he began working with Motörhead and continued to produce until his death in 1994. [2]

Contents

Early life

Miller was the son of Anne Wingate and Bill Miller, a Las Vegas entertainment director and the man who booked Elvis Presley into the International Hotel for his 1969 return to live performance. [3]

Career

Prior to working with the Rolling Stones, Miller had trained and worked as the protege of Stanley Borden (RKO, Artia, After Hours Unique). Borden, the original backer of Island Records, suggested Miller to Chris Blackwell, who brought him to the United Kingdom where he rose to fame producing successful releases for the Spencer Davis Group including their breakthrough hit "Gimme Some Lovin'" and its follow-up "I'm A Man", which Miller co-wrote with the band's singer-keyboardist, Steve Winwood. In addition to his production work for Winwood's band Traffic, Miller also contributed the lyrics to the Traffic song "Medicated Goo". During this period Miller also produced the first two albums by Spooky Tooth as well as the sole album by the Eric Clapton–Winwood supergroup Blind Faith.

Following his work with Blind Faith, Miller co-produced (with Delaney Bramlett) the hit Delaney & Bonnie album from 1969, On Tour with Eric Clapton . He went on to produce albums for Delaney & Bonnie keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, Kracker, the Plasmatics, Motörhead and the UK band Nirvana.

A drummer himself, Miller created a distinctive drum sound for his productions, especially with the Rolling Stones, on whose recordings he occasionally played. Among his contributions include the opening cowbell on "Honky Tonk Women", and the main drumming on tracks such as "You Can't Always Get What You Want", (where regular Stones drummer Charlie Watts was unable to play the correct "groove"), [4] "Tumbling Dice" (where Watts was similarly troubled by the ending of the song), and songs such as "Happy" and "Shine a Light" where Watts was absent from the recording sessions for various reasons.

In the 1980s, Miller produced acts such as Johnny Thunders, [5] Matrix and Jo Jo Laine (wife of Denny Laine, of the Moody Blues and Wings). In 1990 he co-produced (along with Phil Greene) "What's in A Name" for Florida band Walk the Chalk.

Miller went on to work with Primal Scream on their breakthrough album Screamadelica and William Topley's band the Blessing (Miller appears on their DVD Sugar Train during the song "Soul Love").

Among Miller's last productions were three tracks on the 1992 Wedding Present project, Hit Parade 2 . He also produced four tracks on the World Bank's "In Debt Interview" which featured artists including Billy Preston and Bobby Keys, and a rare musical sideline from author Hunter S. Thompson. Miller traveled to Woody Creek, Colorado, in 1994 to meet with Thompson for a memorable weekend in May. Miller died on October 22, 1994, of liver failure. [3]

Personal life


His daughter, rock singer Deena Miller, is from his marriage to Gayle Shepherd, a member of the singing group the Shepherd Sisters. Miller and his second wife Geraldine had a son, Michael, who died at the age of 32. Jimmy Miller had a stepson, Steven Miller, a news photographer who spent 25 years working for The New York Times and lives in Connecticut who is the surviving biological son of Geraldine Miller. Geraldine (known as Geri) died of breast cancer in 1991, three years before Jimmy Miller's own death in Denver, Colorado, at the age of 52, from liver failure. [3]

His half-sister was Judith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New York Times who was imprisoned for not revealing her sources in the Plame–Wilson CIA affair.

Discography (incomplete)

YearArtistAlbum details
1967 Traffic Mr. Fantasy
1968 Spooky Tooth It's All About
1968 Traffic Traffic
1968 The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet
1969 Spooky Tooth Spooky Two
1969 Traffic Last Exit
1969 The Rolling Stones Let It Bleed
1969 Blind Faith Blind Faith
1970 Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour with Eric Clapton
1970 Ginger Baker's Air Force Ginger Baker's Air Force
1970 Sky Don't Hold Back [6]
1970 Sky Sailor's Delight [6]
1971 The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers
1972 The Rolling Stones Exile on Main St.
1972 Kracker La Familia
1972 Bobby Whitlock Raw Velvet
1973 The Rolling Stones Goats Head Soup
1973 Kracker Kracker Brand
1975 Locomotiv GT All aboard
1979 Trapeze Hold On
1979 Motörhead Overkill
1979 Motörhead Bomber
1980 Plasmatics New Hope for the Wretched
1991 Primal Scream Screamadelica

Related Research Articles

Eric Clapton English musician, singer, songwriter, and guitarist

Eric Patrick Clapton, is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and fourth in Gibson's "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time". He was also named number five in Time magazine's list of "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players" in 2009.

Cream (band) 1960s British rock supergroup

Cream were a British rock band formed in London in 1966. The group consisted of bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Eric Clapton, and drummer Ginger Baker. Bruce was the primary songwriter and vocalist, although Clapton and Baker also sang and contributed songs. Formed from members of previously successful bands, they are widely regarded as the world's first supergroup. Cream were highly regarded for the instrumental proficiency of each of their members. Tensions between Bruce and Baker led to their decision in May 1968 to break up, though the band were persuaded to make a final album, Goodbye, and to tour, culminating in two final farewell concerts at the Royal Albert Hall on 25 and 26 November 1968 which were filmed and shown in theatres, then in 1977 released as a home video, Farewell Concert.

Traffic (band) English rock band

Traffic were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham, in April 1967 by Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. They began as a psychedelic rock group and diversified their sound through the use of instruments such as keyboards like the Mellotron and harpsichord, sitar, and various reed instruments, and by incorporating jazz and improvisational techniques in their music. Their first three singles were "Paper Sun", "Hole in My Shoe", and "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush".

Blind Faith English rock supergroup

Blind Faith were an English supergroup featuring Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech, active in mostly 1969. They were eagerly anticipated by the music press as a continuation of Clapton and Baker's former group Cream and Winwood's former group Traffic, but they split after one album and tour.

Steve Winwood English recording artist; musician, singer, songwriter

Stephen Lawrence Winwood is an English singer, songwriter and musician whose genres include progressive rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz. Though primarily a vocalist and keyboard player, Winwood also plays a wide variety of other instruments; on several of his solo albums he has played all instrumentation, including drums, mandolin, guitars, bass and saxophone.

<i>Blind Faith</i> (Blind Faith album) Only album by Blind Faith


Blind Faith is the self-titled and only album by the English supergroup Blind Faith, originally released in 1969 on Polydor Records in the United Kingdom and Europe and on Atlantic Records in the United States. It topped the album charts in the UK, Canada and US, and was listed at No. 40 on the US Soul Albums chart. It has been certified platinum by the RIAA.

Derek and the Dominos English–American blues-rock band 1970–1971

Derek and the Dominos were an English–American blues-rock band formed in the spring of 1970 by guitarist and singer Eric Clapton, keyboardist and singer Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon. All four members had previously played together in Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, during and after Clapton's brief tenure with Blind Faith. Dave Mason supplied additional lead guitar on early studio sessions and played at their first live gig. Another participant at their first session as a band was George Harrison, the recording for whose album All Things Must Pass marked the formation of Derek and the Dominos.

Dave Mason British recording artist; singer-songwriter and guitarist from Worcester

David Thomas Mason is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist from Worcester, who first found fame with the rock band Traffic. Over the course of his career, Mason has played and recorded with many notable pop and rock musicians, including Paul McCartney, George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Steve Winwood, Fleetwood Mac, Delaney & Bonnie, Leon Russell and Cass Elliot. One of Mason's best known songs is "Feelin' Alright", recorded by Traffic in 1968 and later by many other performers, including Joe Cocker, whose version of the song was a hit in 1969. For Traffic, he also wrote "Hole in My Shoe", a psychedelic pop song that became a hit in its own right. "We Just Disagree", Mason's 1977 solo US hit, written by Jim Krueger, has become a staple of US classic hits and adult contemporary radio playlists.

<i>The History of Eric Clapton</i> 1972 compilation album by Eric Clapton

The History of Eric Clapton is a compilation double LP, released in 1972 by Polydor Records in the United Kingdom, and Atco Records in the United States. It features Eric Clapton performing in various bands between 1964 and 1970, including The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos.

Bobby Whitlock

Robert Stanley Whitlock is an American singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known as a member of the blues-rock band Derek and the Dominos, with Eric Clapton, in 1970–71. Whitlock's musical career began with Memphis soul acts such as Sam & Dave and Booker T. & the M.G.'s before he joined Delaney & Bonnie and Friends in 1968. His association with Delaney & Bonnie bandmate Clapton led to Whitlock's participation in sessions for George Harrison's 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass, in London, and the formation of Derek and the Dominos that year. On the band's sole studio album, the critically acclaimed Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, Whitlock wrote or co-wrote seven of the album's fourteen tracks, including "Tell the Truth", "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?"

<i>Eric Clapton</i> (album) 1970 studio album by Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton is the debut full studio album by British rock musician Eric Clapton, released in August 1970 under Atco and Polydor Records.

Rebop Kwaku Baah Ghanaian musician

Anthony "Rebop" Kwaku Baah was a Ghanaian percussionist who worked with the 1970s rock groups Traffic and Can.

Delaney & Bonnie American husband and wife music duo

Delaney & Bonnie were an American duo of singer-songwriters Delaney Bramlett and Bonnie Bramlett. In 1969 and 1970, they fronted a rock/soul ensemble, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, whose members at different times included Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, and King Curtis.

<i>The Finer Things</i> 1995 box set by Steve Winwood

The Finer Things is a compilation album box set of recordings by Steve Winwood. It includes songs from his early days with The Spencer Davis Group through Traffic and Blind Faith and into his work during his solo career.

<i>On Tour with Eric Clapton</i> 1970 live album by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends

On Tour with Eric Clapton is a 1970 album by Delaney & Bonnie with Eric Clapton, recorded live at the Fairfield Halls, England. Released on Atco Records, it peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard 200 in April 1970, at #39 on the British album chart, and was certified a gold record by the RIAA.

<i>The London Howlin Wolf Sessions</i> 1971 studio album by Howlin Wolf

The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions is an album by blues musician Howlin' Wolf released in 1971 on Chess Records, and on Rolling Stones Records in Britain. It was one of the first super session blues albums, setting a blues master among famous musicians from the second generation of rock and roll, in this case Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman. It peaked at #79 on the Billboard 200.

<i>Eric Clapton at His Best</i> 1972 greatest hits album by Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton at His Best is a two-LP compilation of Eric Clapton's work after he left his earlier band Cream, released in September 1972. It was concurrently released with a two-LP compilation of Cream tracks, Heavy Cream, along with "at His Best" solo retrospectives by Cream's other members Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker.

"Can't Find My Way Home" is a song written by Steve Winwood which was first released by Blind Faith on their 1969 album Blind Faith. Rolling Stone, in a review of the album, noted that the song featured "Ginger Baker's highly innovative percussion" and judged the lyric "And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home" to be "delightful".

Ric Grech British musician

Richard Roman Grechko, better known as Ric Grech, was a British rock musician and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known for playing bass guitar and violin with Family as well as in the supergroups Blind Faith and Traffic. He also played with ex-Cream drummer Ginger Baker's Air Force.

<i>Revolutions – The Very Best of Steve Winwood</i> 2010 compilation album by Steve Winwood

Revolutions – The Very Best of Steve Winwood is the sixth compilation album by Steve Winwood. The album includes music from Winwood's solo career, as well as groups with which he has performed, including the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, and Blind Faith. The CD was released as a box set and a single disc. As of October 2014, the box set is out of print, while the single disc is still available. The songs "The Finer Things" and "Roll With It" are exclusive to the single disc version and cannot be found on the box set.

References

  1. Sunday Morning Playlist: Top Twenty Record Producers of the Rock Era – Page 5 Archived June 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Jimmy Miller Discography at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  3. 1 2 3 "Jimmy Miller, 52, Recording Producer". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 24, 1994. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  4. Loewenstein, Dora; Dodd, Philip (2003). According to the Rolling Stones . San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p.  125. ISBN   0-8118-4060-3.
  5. "ROIR". Roir-usa.com. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  6. 1 2 Sky: A look back at Doug Fieger before The Knack - National Rock Review