Country Music Legend Jody Miller Passes Away At 80
Grammy award-winning recording artist Jody Miller passed away this morning in Blanchard, Oklahoma from complications related to Parkinson’s Disease. She was 80 years old. Miller first signed to Capitol Records as a folk artist in 1962, landing her first single “He Walks Like a Man” on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. Best known for her 1965 Grammy-winning hit “Queen of the House,” Miller became a country star overnight when the single crossed over from the pop to country charts, cementing her status as a pioneering cross-over artist whose radio-friendly versatility paved the way for the likes of fellow artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Anne Murray, and Olivia Newton-John. In 1966, Miller went on to win the Grammy award for the song, becoming the second woman to pick up the trophy for “Best Country Performance—Female.”
According to Miller’s longtime representative Jennifer McMullen, “Jody Miller’s talent cannot be overstated. 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.”
Throughout the ’60s, Miller recorded for Capitol Records, releasing scores of singles such as the hit teen pop anthem “Home of the Brave”, as well as the richly expressive Hot Country charter and fan favorite “Long Black Limousine,” while making multiple appearances on teen shows such as Shindig and American Bandstand.
In the ’70s, Miller began recording for Epic Records in Nashville, working with Billy Sherrill as one of his premiere Countrypolitan artists, notching several hits, including the Top 5 singles “Baby I’m Yours,” There’s a Party Goin’ On,” “Darling, You Can Always Come Back Home,” and the Grammy-nominated cross-over hit “He’s So Fine.” With her beauty and charisma, Miller became a frequent guest on shows such as Hee Haw and Pop! Goes the Country.
In the early ’80s, Miller retired from touring to spend time at home with her daughter Robin and husband Monty Brooks, helping to manage his thriving quarter horse breeding and training business at their farm in Blanchard, Oklahoma. In the early ’90s, Miller rededicated her life to Christ as a born-again Christian and began a gospel music ministry, sharing her testimony through story and song, recording half a dozen gospel albums, culminating in her induction into the International Country Music Hall of Fame.
With all of her accolades, Miller was deeply devoted to her family. Following the death of her husband of 52 years Monty Brooks, Miller began performing with her daughter Robin Brooks Sullivan and her grandchildren Montana and Layla Sullivan as Jody Miller and Three Generations, releasing a single in 2018 “Where My Picture Hangs On the Wall.” In 2021, Miller attended the groundbreaking for a Blanchard Public School Building named for her, The Jody Miller Performing Arts Center, an honor which she called “better than a Grammy!” Dealing with the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease in the past few years, Miller made the decision to enter the studio one last time in 2020 for an upcoming project Wayfaring Stranger on Heart of Texas Records. The title spiritual song, part of the artist’s folk repertoire back in the ’60s seems a fitting bookend to her 60-year career. As label President Tracy Pitcox explained, “Jody lived her life, just as she conducted her career, with the utmost class and dignity.”