Steve Miller Band
Steve Miller Band
Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 8 pm
The Steve Miller Band performs greatest hits such as “Fly Like an Eagle,” “”Rock ‘N Me,” “Jungle Love,” “ Jet Airliner,” “Swingtown,” “The Joker” and many more that have made them rock mainstays since the 1970s.
One of rock music’s all-time greats, the Steve Miller Band has sold more than 30 million records in a career spanning more than 40 years. His trademark blues-rock sound made him one of the key artists in classic rock radio. The Steve Miller Band is brand name rock that millions have come to trust.
Born October 5, 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Steve Miller grew up in a musical family. His mother, Bertha, was a gifted vocalist and his father, Dr. George (Sonny) Miller, was an amateur tape recordist. Steve’s uncle Dale Miller gave his four year-old nephew a guitar. His father’s friend, guitarist Les Paul, taught the young boy a few chords and his father secretly recorded the exchange. “Steve, you’re really going to go places,” Les Paul told him, after listening to the boy play and sing.
Signed to Capitol Records for a generous advance and unprecedented guarantee of creative freedom, Miller began recording the first album by the group at Olympic Studios in London with engineer Glyn Johns, fresh from sessions with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. “Children of the Future,” with its landmark cover by San Francisco poster artist Victor Moscoso, was released in May 1968.
“Sailor,” the second album, released a quick five months later, was neither a new name for the band nor a concept album that was never completed (although Miller continues to operate under Sailor Music to this day). Recorded with Glyn Johns at Wally Heider’s new eight-track studios in Hollywood, the album featured the Miller classic, “Livin’ In the U.S.A.” that spent two whole weeks on the bottom reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 before dropping off entirely. Scaggs left the group shortly after the release. The album also introduced Miller as “The Gangster of Love” with his version of the Johnny “Guitar” Watson original. The next album, “Brave New World,” featured Miller as “Space Cowboy.”
“Take the Money and Run,” the first single from the album “Fly Like An Eagle, hit the charts in May 1976, the first of six consecutive smashes – “Rock ‘n Me,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Jet Airliner,” “Jungle Love,” “Swingtown” -- that would keep the Steve Miller Band in the Top Ten beyond the next two years. He followed the multi-million-selling “Fly Like An Eagle,” while the album still hovered high in the charts, with “Book of Dreams” almost a year to the day later.
He began the “Fly Like an Eagle” tour at the same small theaters he played as the hitless wonder and king of FM underground rock. By the next summer, he was playing football stadiums. At the height of the classic rock movement, the Steve Miller Band was one of the defining figures. His 1978 album, “Greatest Hits 1974-78,” became one of the best-selling releases of all-time, selling millions every year through the end of the century.
Miller scored another No. 1 hit in 1982 with “Abracadabra,” a number he put together with drummer Mallaber and SMB guitarist Kenny Lee Lewis. His 1986 single, “I Want To Make the World Turn Around,” was lodged at the top of album rock radio playlists for several weeks, from the album “Living In the 20th Century,” which was conceived, at least in part, as a tribute to one of Miller’s heroes, bluesman Jimmy Reed. His 1989 blues and jazz album, “Born 2B Blue,” not only reunited him with producer Ben Sidran, a former member of both the Steve Miller Band and the Ardells, but put Miller back on the road for the first time in several years.
In the intervening years, a new radio format called classic rock swept the radio dial in every city, with the Steve Miller Band records front and center on all the playlists. Miller’s return to performing was greeted by a new generation of fans, young people introduced by classic rock radio and weaned on “Greatest Hits 1974-8.” His last studio album, “Wide River,” went largely unnoticed in 1993, while his ‘70s hits were still on the radio everywhere, more popular than many hit records of the day.
After more than fifteen years, Miller went back to make a new record. He took his band into Skywalker Ranch, George Lucas’ production facility deep in the Marin County woods, and with classic rock engineer Andy Johns (Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones), and cut almost three dozen tracks. “Bingo!,” the first album from the sessions, was released in May 2010.
The Steve Miller Band has become one of the centerpiece attractions of the summer rock concert season, playing sixty or more shows every year. He is the Gangster of Love. Some people call him Maurice, the Midnight Toker or the Space Cowboy. And with “Let Your Hair Down,” a masterpiece album by one of the greats, Steve Miller shows he still speaks of the pompitus of love.