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Frankie Miller, In The Words Of Those Who Knew Him Best

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Frankie Miller photo by Photo: GAB Archive and Redferns
Photo: GAB Archive/Redferns

Frankie Miller may be one of the unsung heroes of British rock, but he has a host of legendary friends who’ve been singing his praises to anyone who’ll listen. Renowned for his emotive songwriting, stylistic versatility – and for penning songs that have inspired everyone from Rod Stewart to Ray Charles to cover them – Miller has also been the envy of his peers. As Status Quo’s Francis Rossi says, in the documentary Frankie Miller: Sending Me Angels, “As soon as I heard that voice, it was one of those voices that everyone wants to have.”

Frankie Miller's Double Take Album Cover - 300Many of his biggest admirers have come together for the Double Take collection, which acts as both an introduction and a tribute to Miller. Having left a number of songs unfinished at the time of suffering a tragic brain haemorrhage, in 1994, the likes of Elton John and Rod Stewart decided to finish the songs in honour of their friend. “He’s had a run of bad luck and us musicians need to pull together to help our own,” Stewart observes.

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Here’s what everyone else has to say about the phenomenally talented man who should, by all rights, be a household name:

Elton John: He was one of the people I really loved in the 70s when we were both up-and-coming stars. He was very soulful, had a great voice. I remember going to see him live and I had no idea of the amount of songs that he’d written, and when I saw the list of songs that Frankie wrote I was astonished. I was bowled over by this man who had written all these great songs… His music should be heard. His music should be remembered. His music should be revered.

Rod Stewart: The first time I saw him sing he was playing at a pub over in Richmond somewhere. I went over to check him out because I thought he was pretty good, and he did an Otis Redding song, ‘These Arms Of Mine’, and he did it so well he brought a tear to my eye. He was superb.

Joe Walsh: I became aware of Frankie through [longstanding Who sound engineer] Bob Pridden. I had heard a Frankie Miller song but I didn’t know who it was, and so I was trying to explain that I heard this amazing voice. All I had to say was it sounded like Otis Redding, and Bob knew exactly who it was. I said: “This is the most amazing singer that I’ve ever heard.”

Frankie usually would do one take. There are singers who can do that. Frank Sinatra was like that: come in, sing it, I’m done – and Frankie was that good. The world needs to be aware of Frankie Miller more than it is.

Paul Carrack: The first time I met Frankie would have been around ’73/’74, when I was in a band called Ace. One day we were down at the Hope And Anchor, trying to hustle a gig, trying to persuade them to put us on there, and we walked in and Frankie was rehearsing. I think he was rehearsing with [Free’s] Andy Fraser and he absolutely knocked my socks off – and we thought, Oh dear, back to the drawing board. I got to work with him. What a guy. Great guy and, even recently, with all his health problems and everything, still an indomitable spirit.

Frankie Miller’s Double Take is out now and can be purchased here:

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