120. Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller is a rock and roll guitarist, who achieved great popularity in the mid-1970s.

Steve Miller’s biography on Wikipedia

I had pretty cool parents, and they, especially my mother, embraced the San Francisco rock music scene of the 1960s. I’m quite sure that one of the bands my parents took me and my younger sister to see during this time was The Steve Miller Blues Band. I would have been about 9 years old at the time.

Steve Miller, along with his longtime friend Boz Scaggs, are not regularly identified as part of San Francisco’s rock movement. They were part of a contingent of musicians who came to rock music via the blues. Although he gained immense popular success in the mid-1970s, his first few albums are a bit more raw, innovative and interesting. This is a view that the critical review guides disagree with slightly, as they see his peak around the albums Fly Like An Eagle and Book Of Dreams. Those albums have a few good songs, but Miller released five albums in a two year span between 1968 and 1969 that are full of very solid, straightforward rock and roll music. There is a remarkable wealth of great music in that period around 1970. It stands out above all other time periods.

There are no good videos from the fertile late 1960s period. Here he performs “Space Cowboy” in 1976:

Although I was first introduced to Steve Miller in 1967, I was never aware of Steve Miller until I began to hang around with my high school friend Steve Feller. Steve had the nicest car of any of our friends, a beautiful little forest green Pontiac Firebird, which he took immaculate care of. Steve had an 8-track player in his car, and I learned about quite a few new bands while driving around with Steve. Steve probably had a copy of Steve Miller’s Anthology album on 8-track, as I specifically remember hearing good songs like “Your Saving Grace”, “Going To Mexico” and “Quicksilver Girl”.

I rate “The Joker” as Miller’s greatest song. It has an anthem-like quality. For whatever reason, it takes me back to the parking lot behind the Palo Alto Library at the corner of Embarcadero and Newell roads. I won’t say why. Here’s a nice version of “The Joker” from the TV show called The Midnight Special:

Once again, I spent some time reviewing the choices. As usual, I leaned towards including the older stuff; some of his big hits from the 1970s are not included. A primary problem with music after the mid-1970s is the sanitized, perfectionist production treatment the music receives. The songs “Baby’s Calling Me Home” and “Steppin’ Stone” feature Boz Scaggs on vocals. Here are the selections:

The Joker, Steve Miller Band ✭✭✭✭
Fly Like An Eagle, Steve Miller Band ✭✭✭✭

Living In The USA, Steve Miller Band ✭✭✭
Going To Mexico, Steve Miller Band ✭✭✭

Baby’s Calling Me Home, Steve Miller Band ✭✭
Your Saving Grace, Steve Miller Band ✭✭
Quicksilver Girl, Steve Miller Band ✭✭
Steppin’ Out, Steve Miller Band ✭✭
Space Cowboy, Steve Miller Band ✭✭
Going To the Country, Steve Miller Band ✭✭
Gangster Of Love, Steve Miller Band ✭✭
Mercury Blues, Steve Miller Band ✭✭
Wild Mountain Honey, Steve Miller Band ✭✭
Jet Airliner, Steve Miller Band ✭✭

My Dark Hour, Steve Miller Band
Take The Money And Run, Steve Miller Band
Dance, Dance, Dance, Steve Miller Band
Rock’n Me, Steve Miller Band
Song For Our Ancestors, Steve Miller Band

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