Category: the steve miller band

On this day in music history: May 14, 1976 – &…

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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On this day in music history: May 13, 1977 – &…

On this day in music history: May 13, 1977 – “Book Of Dreams”, the tenth 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. Written and recorded at the same time as its predecessor “Fly Like An Eagle”, “Book Of Dreams” is assembled from the remaining tracks of those prolific sessions. Conceptually, it is a continuation of the previous album, even beginning with an instrumental interlude (“Threshold”) before seguing into “Jet Airliner” (#8 Pop), which is also the first single released. “Jet” is written by fellow San Francisco based musician Paul Pena in 1973 for his own album “New Train”. Pena’s album goes unreleased (not issued until 2000) after a conflict with Capitol Records (also Miller’s label), which leads to the album being shelved. Steve hears the song when his friend Ben Sidran who had produced Pena’s album, gives him a copy of the unreleased project. Miller slightly alters the main riff when he records it. The album features the uncensored version of the song that includes the lyric “that I don’t want to get caught up in any of that funky shit goin’ down in the city”. The single release features the lyric being altered to “funky kicks”, and the edited version is later featured on his “Greatest Hits 1974-78” album. It spins off two other singles including “Swingtown (#17 Pop) and "Jungle Love” (#23 Pop). Released one day short of a year after “Fly Like An Eagle”, “Dreams” is also enthusiastically received by critics and fans, and is another immediate smash. The album cover artwork and custom LP labels feature the now famed winged pegasus horse painted designed by San Francisco artists Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse. The winged horse becomes The Steve Miller Band’s official band logo, and one of the most recognized rock band trademarks. A year after the LP’s original release, it is also issued by Capitol Records as a limited edition picture disc. First released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and reissued in 1998. It is remastered and reissued again in Japan in 2017 as a limited edition SHM-CD, in a mini-LP replica sleeve. Out of print on vinyl for decades, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2019, It’s released as part of the box set, “Steve Miller Band – Complete Albums Volume 2 (1977-2011)”. “Book Of Dreams” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation by clicking on the link at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228

On this day in music history: November 6, 1976…

On this day in music history: November 6, 1976 – “Rock ‘N Me” by the Steve Miller Band hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Steve Miller, it is the second number one singer for the Milwaukee, WI born guitarist. Written in early 1976, Miller initially considers the song to be just a throwaway, having quickly composed it for an appearance at a British music festival. “Rock ‘N Me” is a tribute to former Free guitarist Paul Kossoff who had died of congestive heart failure (after years of drug abuse) at the age of 25 on March 19, 1976. The songs’ signature riff closely mimics the intro to Free’s classic “All Right Now”. The crowd’s positive reaction to the song encourages Miller to record it, cutting the track at CBS Studios in San Francisco, CA. Issued as the second single from the “Fly Like An Eagle” album, in July of 1976, it quickly takes flight. Entering the Hot 100 at #85 on August 14, 1976, it climbs to the top of the chart twelve weeks later. “Rock ‘N Me” becomes a pop and classic rock radio staple over the years, helping drive the “Fly Like An Eagle” album to 4x Platinum status in the US.

On this day in music history: October 20, 1973…

On this day in music history: October 20, 1973 – “The Joker”, the eighth album by the Steve Miller Band is released. Produced by Steve Miller, it is recorded at The Capitol Tower in Hollywood, CA, The Tower Theater in Philadelphia, PA, and The Aquarius Theatre in Boston, MA from Early – Mid 1973. After seven albums that have met with varying degrees of success, The Steve Miller Band’s eighth release marks a major shift in the band’s sound from their trademark psychedelic blues to a more mainstream blues rock and pop sound. Seeking perfection, Miller and the band labors over the songs, especially the title track “The Joker”, which takes nearly three weeks to turn out the final released version. The hard work pays off, with the end result becoming  their most commercially successful album to date. It spins off two singles including a cover of The Clovers classic “Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash” (#51 Pop), and the title track which becomes Miller’s first number one single in the US on January 12, 1974 (it also belatedly tops the UK singles chart in 1990 when it is used in a commercial for Levi’s blue jeans). The albums iconic cover photo is taken by photographer Norman Seeff. Originally released on CD in 1990, it is remastered and reissued in 1996. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 2001 by the UK label Simply Vinyl. It is reissued again in 2017 by Capitol/UMe, as part of their extensive vinyl reissue program to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Capitol Records. The new LP reissue replicates the original album packaging including the gatefold sleeve design. “The Joker” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

Born on this day: October 5, 1943 – Singer, so…

Born on this day: October 5, 1943 – Singer, songwriter and musician Steve Miller (born Steven Haworth Miller in Milwaukee, WI). Happy 75th Birthday, Steve!!

On this day in music history: September 4, 198…

On this day in music history: September 4, 1982 – “Abracadabra” by the Steve Miller Band hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks (non-consecutive). Written by Steve Miller, it is the third and final number one single for the Milwaukee, WI born guitarist. The title track from Miller’s twelfth album, it marks the return to pop commercial success for the veteran musician. After the back to back successes of “Fly Like An Eagle” and “Book Of Dreams” in 1976 and 1977, Miller takes a four year hiatus from the music business, leaving his longtime home base of San Francisco, CA for a spread in rural Oregon. He returns in 1981 with the album “Circle Of Love” which sells poorly and garners little radio support. Quickly rebounding to the tight, melodically driven pop/rock that made him a superstar in the mid 70’s, Miller records the “Abracadabra” album in short order. Entering the Hot 100 at #75 on May 29, 1982, it climbs to the top fourteen weeks later. “Abracadabra” spends one week at the top, then yields to Chicago’s “Hard To Say I’m Sorry” for 2 weeks, then regains its bullet, giving it enough upward chart momentum to retake the number one spot for an additional week. “Abracadabra” also hits number one in an additional five countries around the world. On October 30, 1982, it sets a Billboard chart record for the biggest drop out of US Top 10 when it falls from #10 to #48 in one week, leaving the chart entirely two weeks later. During the singles run on the charts, Capitol Records issues two different pressings of the single. The original press run (w/ the maroon Capitol label, some copies also packaged with a picture sleeve) feature the edited version of the song at a slightly faster speed than the full LP version. The second pressing (w/ the black rainbow color band Capitol label), features the same edited version, but with the track at the correct original speed and pitch. It is not known if the faster speed copies were pressed in error or not. “Abracadabra” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.  

On this day in music history: June 15, 1982 – …

On this day in music history: June 15, 1982 – “Abracadabra”, the twelfth studio album by the Steve Miller Band is released. Produced by Steve Miller and Gary Mallaber, it is recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA in Late 1981. After enjoying tremendous success from the mid to late 70’s, Steve Miller takes an extended hiatus from recording and touring, which lasts nearly four years. His first album of the new decade is the esoteric and decidedly less commercial “Circle Of Love” released in the Fall of 1981. The first single “Heart Like A Wheel” (#24 Pop) and the follow up title track (#55 Pop) both meet with tepid reactions from fans and from radio, the album sinks quickly from view. Though the side long track “Macho City”, released in edited form outside the US, becomes an unlikely underground club hit. Regrouping quickly, the veteran guitarist quickly rebounds returning to the more commercial, radio friendly pop/rock sound of the mid to late 70’s. “Abracadabra” is rapturously received by fans and radio, becoming his biggest success in more than five years. The title track becomes his third and final number one single in the US topping the Hot 100 in September 1982. It spins off two other singles including “Cool Magic” (#57 Pop) and “Give It Up” (#60 Pop). “Abracadabra” peaks number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: May 14, 1976 – &…

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 as both a drummer and keyboard player 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 from how it was originally performed, 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 and is released on 8-Track tape. 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.

On this day in music history: May 13, 1977 – &…

On this day in music history: May 13, 1977 – “Book Of Dreams”, the tenth 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. Written and recorded at the same time as its predecessor “Fly Like An Eagle”, “Book Of Dreams” is assembled from the remaining tracks of those prolific sessions. Conceptually, it is a continuation of the previous album, even beginning with an instrumental interlude (“Threshold”) before seguing into “Jet Airliner” (#8 Pop), which is also the first single released. “Jet” is written by fellow San Francisco based musician Paul Pena in 1973 for his own album “New Train”. Pena’s album goes unreleased (not issued until 2000) after a conflict with Capitol Records (also Miller’s label), which leads to the album being shelved. Steve hears the song when his friend Ben Sidran who had produced Pena’s album, gives him a copy of the unreleased project. Miller slightly alters the main riff when he records it. The album features the uncensored version of the song that includes the lyric “that I don’t want to get caught up in any of that funky shit goin’ down in the city”. The single release features the lyric being altered to “funky kicks”, and the edited version is later featured on his “Greatest Hits 1974-78” album. It spins off two other singles including “Swingtown (#17 Pop) and "Jungle Love” (#23 Pop). Released one day short of a year after “Fly Like An Eagle”, “Dreams” is also enthusiastically received by critics and fans, and is another immediate smash. The album cover artwork and custom LP labels feature the now famed winged pegasus horse painted designed by San Francisco artists Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse. The winged horse becomes The Steve Miller Band’s official band logo, and one of the most recognized rock band trademarks. A year after the LP’s original release, it is also issued by Capitol Records as a limited edition picture disc. First released on CD in 1986, it is remastered and reissued in 1998. It is remastered and reissued again in Japan in 2017 as a limited edition SHM-CD, in a mini-LP replica sleeve. “Book Of Dreams” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: January 12, 1974…

On this day in music history: January 12, 1974 – “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Steve Miller, it is the first chart topping single for the Milwaukee, WI born guitarist. It is the title track to the bands’ eighth studio album. Miller bases the song around New Orleans songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint’s song “Soul Sister”, also referencing The Clovers 1954 rhythm & blues classic “Lovey Dovey”, and his own earlier songs “Space Cowboy”, “Gangster Of Love” and “Enter Maurice”. Early copies of the single credit only Steve Miller as the writer of “The Joker”, but later pressings are amended to include “Lovey Dovey” co-writers Eddie Curtis and Atlantic Records co-founder Ahmet Ertegun. Released in September of 1973, “The Joker” quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #86 on October 20, 1973, it climbs to the top the chart twelve weeks later. It is Miller’s first million selling single in the US, and belatedly hits number one on the UK singles chart in 1990 when it is re-released after being used for an advertising campaign for Levi’s blue jeans. “The Joker” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.