After growing up in Oklahoma and serving in the United States Army, Miller began his musical career as a songwriter in the late 1950s, writing such hits as "Billy Bayou" and "Home" for Jim Reeves and "Invitation to the Blues" for Ray Price. He later began a recording career and reached the peak of his fame in the mid-1960s, continuing to record and tour into the 1990s, charting his final top 20 country hit "Old Friends" with Willie Nelson in 1982. He also wrote and performed several of the songs for the 1973 Disney animated film Robin Hood. Later in his life, he wrote the music and lyrics for the 1985 Tony-award-winning Broadway musical Big River, in which he acted.
Miller died from lung cancer in 1992 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame three years later. His songs continued to be recorded by other singers, with covers of "Tall, Tall Trees" by Alan Jackson and "Husbands and Wives" by Brooks & Dunn; both reached the number one spot on country charts in the 1990s. The Roger Miller Museum in his home town of Erick, Oklahoma, was a tribute to Miller.