July 23, 2007 – “Ron” Miller was born Ronald Norman Gould on October 5, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois. He served in the U.S. Marines and then sold washing machines, before he was discovered by Motown founder Berry Gordy while playing in a bar. Gordy invited him to write songs for his new company, Motown, and Miller responded by writing the lyrics to “For Once in My Life”, to music by Orlando Murden. The lyrics were written the night his daughter Angel was born, and was first recorded at Motown by Barbara McNair before being covered in a more upbeat style by Stevie Wonder.
It is one of the most covered songs in pop history with more than 270 recorded versions. A version recorded by Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder won a Grammy Award in 2007.
Miller co-wrote several other hit songs for Stevie Wonder, including “A Place in the Sun”, “Heaven Help Us All”, and “Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday”. A version of “Heaven Help Us All” by Ray Charles and Gladys Knight won a Grammy Award for best gospel performance in 2005. He also co-wrote Diana Ross’ 1973 hit “Touch Me in the Morning”, and Charlene’s “I’ve Never Been To Me”. During the 1970s, Miller wrote lyrics for several Broadway musicals, including Daddy Goodness and Cheery.
Miller died on July 23, 2007 of cardiac arrest at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center, after a long battle with emphysema and cancer. He was 73.