On this day in music history: May 14, 1976 – “Fly Like An Eagle”, the ninth album by The Steve Miller Band is released. Produced by Steve Miller, it is recorded at CBS Studios in San Francisco, CA from Late 1975 – Early 1976. Recording with varying degrees of success since their debut album “Children Of The Future”, The Steve Miller Band finally have their major breakthrough in late 1973 with “The Joker”. Miller takes a nearly two year hiatus from recording after the departures of drummer John King and keyboardist Dick Thompson. They are replaced by Gary Mallaber who becomes a key member of the new line up. Before the sessions begin in late 1975, Steve Miller writes enough material for not one but two albums. Once in the studio, Miller, Mallaber and bassist Lonnie Turner are supported by John McFee (dobro), Les Dudek, Curley Cooke (guitar), Joachim Young (organ), Kenny Johnson (drums), Charles Calamise (bass), and Chicago blues legend James Cotton (harmonica). The sessions yield more than two dozen songs. Initially, Miller intends for them to be released as a double album, but is convinced by Capitol to choose the best twelve songs for a single LP, and save the rest. The title track “Fly Like A Eagle” (#2 Pop) is actually written years prior to the release of “The Joker” album. The song’s opening guitar riff has its origins in the song “My Dark Hour” from the “Brave New World” album, that also features Paul McCartney (credited as “Paul Ramon”) on bass, guitar and drums. Miller re-tools the song, giving it a more funky, syncopated feel, drawing inspiration from War’s “Slippin’ Into Darkness”. Once the released, it quickly becomes the best selling studio album of Miller’s career. It spins off three singles including “Take The Money And Run” (#11 Pop) and “Rock’N Me” (#1 Pop). Though not issued as singles, the tracks “Serenade”, “Dance, Dance, Dance” and “Wild Mountain Honey” become rock radio staples and firm fan favorites. “Fly Like An Eagle” is remixed into quadraphonic stereo. Also a favorite album of audiophiles, the original stereo mix is released as a half-speed mastered LP by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 1979. Originally released on CD in 1987, it is remastered and reissued in 1999 on CD and limited edition vinyl. In 2001, DTS Entertainment issues a DVD-A disc featuring the original quadraphonic stereo mix. For its 30th anniversary in 2006, Capitol issues a newly remastered edition of “Eagle” with three additional live bonus tracks, and a bonus DVD with the contents of disc one in 5.1 surround sound. And in October of 2016, the album is released on vinyl again as part of an extensive reissue program, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Capitol Records. “Fly Like An Eagle” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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