The Music's Over

but the songs live on forever

Died On This Date (June 4, 1980) Charles W. Miller / War

Posted by themusicsover on June 14, 2010

Charles W. Miller
June 2, 1939 – June 4, 1980

Photo courtesy of Harold Brown

Photo courtesy of Harold Brown

Charles Miller is best remembered as an original member of one of the premier ’70s funk bands, War.  Raised in the Los Angeles area, Miller began playing a variety of instruments while still in high school, eventually settling on the saxophone and flute.  While in college he began finding local gigs, even landing a recording sessions with Ray Charles and live performances with Brenton Wood.  He eventually hooked up with Harold Brown, Papa Dee Allen, and Howard E. Scott and formed a band called Night Shift, which would soon be re-christened War by Eric Burdon and include Lee Oskar.  War’s fusion of jazz, funk, R&B and Latin coupled with the raw British vocals of Burdon made a hit out of their 1970 single, “Spill the Wine.”   In 1975, the band, sans Burdon, released Why Can’t We Be Friends? which included the Miller sung hit, “Low Rider,” one of the most popular songs to come out of the era.  Charles Miller was murdered in a botched robbery just two weeks before his 41st birthday.  The crime has never been solved.

Special thanks to Harold Brown, Howard E. Scott, & Lee Oskar

13 Responses to “Died On This Date (June 4, 1980) Charles W. Miller / War”

  1. Laurian Miller Johnson said

    Thanks for the wonderful write up on my dad 🙂

    • Feleceia Williams said

      Laurian the funny thing was my boys were singing to your dads song on the radio and had no idea we were related. So I decided to try and find some history online and found you here. I sure miss the good old days with you guys in the Hollywood Hills your dad and my dad (Mack) may they both rest in peace. I pray you are well. Tell Eddie, Annette, Donald and Mark I said hello and God bless.


  2. Feleceia Williams said

    Hey cousin! Laurian it was great to see your post and I agree it is a wonderful write up on your dad. I was trying to find write ups to show my young sons who your dad was. It is good to see you here after all of these years.
    Love ya,

    Fii Fii

  3. Mark Miller said

    Hey Fii,

    This is Mark I sent you a reply to your post but cant remember if I actually pvsh the submitted button. Nevertheless, thank you so much for giving pops his props, and I cant wait to hear from you and your sisters. My email is >
    Thats if you dont have it already.

    • cornell lemons said

      Hi Mark
      i dont know if you remember me or not,My name is Cornell Lemons
      and we are cousins my Aunt Venice and your Mom were very close.
      Anyway i now live in Seattle Washington,after spending most of my life in Fresno and san jose ca, anyway i am just hoping to connect with you and perhaps next time i am in southern california we can visit. my email address is thanks

  4. Joseph Jerzy Joe Newton said

    Too houng to go… I feel so sad, when I think about not being able to spend time with you as a young man.. Life can be very crazy and confussing at times..I do know that you loved your familly and your Music, and those are the two loves of my life as well. I hope to meet your sons and daughter, my siblings, one day.. I would love to know that after all these years, I can have a chance to connect with my lost half… God Bless and rest in peace Pops… Joseph Newton

  5. awesome playing. so inspiting thank you!

  6. meant inspiring. …

  7. So very sad and so very young:( So talented and very handsome! love to Charles and his family<3

  8. Gone to Soon…Your Sax Solo on "The World is a Ghetto" transcends the instrument. RIP BROTHER.

  9. George Butchie Smith said

    No other like him on that sax…

  10. From Donald Miller – "My Dad Charles Miller passed on and up on the night morning of June 4-5, 1980. Thank you all for your Love & Support. Many things on the net that just aren't either true or accurate. When I see them, I'll try and correct them. The truth will set us free!"
    Also, Charles Miller was born on June 2. Will the poster please correct these discrepancies?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *