Jimmy Miller

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Jimmy Miller
Born(1942-03-23)March 23, 1942
DiedOctober 22, 1994(1994-10-22) (aged 52)
  • Record producer
  • musician
Geri Miller
(m. 1970⁠–⁠1991)
Children2, 1 stepson
FamilyJudith 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.

Miller 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]

Early life[edit]

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] Bill Miller was a Russian Jew who came to the United States with his family at the turn of the century. He owned a New Jersey nightclub called Bill Miller’s Riveria which attracted headline acts including future Rat Pack members Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Sammy Davis Jr. The club was closed in 1953 so the Palisades Interstate Parkway could be built. Miller then headed out west to Las Vegas, where he became entertainment director at the Sahara and, according to the Las Vegas Journal Review, “virtually invented the Las Vegas lounge show.” According to Jimmy’s half-sister Judith, “He helped integrate the show biz scene thereby booking Sammy Davis Jr., who was not permitted to stay in the hotel!”[4]


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"),[5] "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.

In the 1980s, Miller produced acts such as Johnny Thunders,[6] MATRIX produced in 1988 in Warren RI, engineered by Phil Green as well as 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[edit]

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.[citation needed]

Discography (incomplete)[edit]

Year Artist Album 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[7]
1970 Sky Sailor's Delight[7]
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


  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. ^ a b c "Jimmy Miller, 52, Recording Producer". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 24, 1994. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "Rolling Stones Producer Jimmy Miller: 15 Things You Didn't Know". Rolling Stone. May 24, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  5. ^ Loewenstein, Dora; Dodd, Philip (2003). According to the Rolling Stones. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p. 125. ISBN 0-8118-4060-3.
  6. ^ "ROIR". Roir-usa.com. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Sky: A look back at Doug Fieger before The Knack - National Rock Review