Motown | Music Achievements
In 2005, “Heaven Help Us All,” the last song ever recorded by Ray Charles, won a Grammy Award for Charles’ duet with Gladys Knight.
In 2007, “For Once In My Life” won three Grammy Awards for the Tony Bennett/Stevie Wonder collaboration.
In 2009, “For Once In My Life” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. One of the most recorded songs in history, it has been recorded by over 300 major label artists and has been heard as the main title track for several major motion picture films and countless television and cable programs.
“Someday At Christmas,” recorded by Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Jackson 5 and many others is a Christmas classic, still being heard throughout the airwaves today. Ron not only the wrote the title track for Stevie Wonder’s first and only Christmas collection, he also wrote and produced many of the songs for the project including, “One Little Christmas Tree,” “The Day That Love Began,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Me,” and the follow-up “Everyone’s a Kid at Christmas Time,” written by Ron and his wife, Aurora Miller. The song launched the career of young artists like Justin Bieber for a new generation. Other current recordings include Bon Jovi, LeAnne Rimes, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Jackie Evancho, Andra Day and many others. In 2016, Apple Computers picked Ron’s classic song, “Someday at Christmas” to represent it worldwide in its holiday message to the world. Its ninety-second commercial, starring Stevie Wonder could be seen on television all around the world and was featured prominently on the Apple Computers’ homepage throughout the entire month of December. Apple Computers, the largest corporation in the world, chose Ron’s lyrics to speak their sentiment of peace, equality and hope – to the whole world. At the end of the song, Apple simply and poignantly signed, “Love, Apple” after Ron’s words – words he had written over 50 years ago, which still hold true today, now more than ever.
In 2010, Stevie Wonder invited Ron’s 10 year-old grandson, Oliver Richman to share the stage with him and perform Ron’s classic, “One Little Christmas Tree” live at the Nokia Theatre L.A. for 7500 people for Wonder’s “House Full of Toys” annual benefit concert, where the young Richman received a rousing standing ovation. Wonder paid tribute to Ron, reminiscing about their days together in the early years and talked about “the circle of life” with the young Richman by his side. Miller’s daughter, Lisa Dawn Miller also performed, in tribute to her father, “If I Could,” the song Ron wrote for his children.
In the 1960’s, Ron had several multi-platinum recordings. After the Detroit riots, the city set out on a campaign to draw people back as part of the Detroit Renewal promotion / program. The city asked Michigan’s (and Motown’s) most notable writer to write a lyric for the City of Detroit so that baseball player Willie Horton (Detroit Tigers) could record it with the Supremes backing him up. Ron wrote it, thus “Detroit is Happening” was born, drawing people back to Detroit.
In the 1973 effort to reinvigorate Diana Ross’ career, Berry Gordy asked Ron to write the lyrics to music composed by the then-unproven talent of composer/producer, Michael Masser. The two teamed up to write “Touch Me In The Morning.” Not only did the song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, it marked a turning point for both the careers of Ross and Masser. It went on to become Diana Ross’ longest charting record, residing on Billboard for 20 weeks and it also marked the beginning of a successful career for Masser. For Ron, it was yet again, another huge hit.
Throughout the 1970’s, Ron wrote the book and lyrics to many musicals including “Daddy Goodness” at the Shubert Theatre in Philadelphia, PA and “Cherry,” directed by Josh Logan at the Fort Bragg Playhouse. For “Cherry,” based on William Inge’s “Bus Stop,” Ron wrote the beautiful “I’ve Never Been a Woman Before.” Barbra Streisand recorded the song for her “The Way We Were” album.
In 1976, Ron wrote and produced “I’ve Never Been To Me” for new artist, Charlene. With no backing from Motown, the project didn’t take off that year, but six years later, disc jockey Scott Shannon, who always loved the record, pulled it off the shelf and put it on the air in Florida. The phones lit up! The song became Florida’s “National Anthem.” It went on to become #1 in Florida, forcing Motown to re-release the single. The song went all the way to #1 in 18 countries. Ron followed up his hit with “Used to Be,” a duet he produced for Charlene and Stevie Wonder.
Ron stayed busy in the 1970’s writing songs for the films “Norman is That You?” and “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings,” producing Smokey Robinson and Thelma Houston for the soundtracks.
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s he wrote and produced “Can’t We Try” for Teddy Pendergrass and he wrote the musicals, “Clothespins and Dreams” for the California Music Theatre and “Satchmo,” about the life of Louis Armstrong. Ron’s multi-award winning songs, “A Place in the Sun” and “Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday” can be heard in countless major motion pictures, television and cable programs where they have been featured throughout the decades.
By the 2000’s Ron’s song, “If I Could” had already become a standard. It was selected by Celine Dion from thousands of songs for her live production spectacular in Las Vegas, “A New Day.” She recorded the song for her “Miracles” release, produced by David Foster. Other recordings include Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Michael Bolton, Regina Belle, Nancy Wilson and many others.
A die-hard Chicago Cub fan, Ron wrote these words for his team:
make you happy
Some teams make you cry
Some teams are great
if they win or they lose
Cause they give it
a hell of a try
Some teams are
poetry in motion
Others a work of art
Some teams go out
and break records
The Cubs just
break your heart”Ron Miller
He never got to see his team finally win the World Series in 2016, having waited his whole life – but he is surely smiling down from heaven knowing that this was surely his greatest victory!