The Steve Miller Band is an American rock band formed in 1967 in San Francisco, California. The band is managed by Steve Miller on guitar and lead vocals, and is known for a string of (mainly) mid-1970s hit singles that are staples of the classic rock radio format.
In 1965 after moving to Chicago to play the blues, Steve Miller and keyboardist Barry Goldberg founded the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band along with bassist Shawn Yoder, rhythm guitarist Craymore Stevens, and drummer Lance Haas. The band was contracted to Epic Records after playing many Chicago clubs. They also appeared on Hullabaloo with the Four Tops and the Supremes.
Miller left the group to go to San Francisco where the psychedelic scene was flourishing. He then formed the Steve Miller Blues Band. Harvey Kornspan, managing partner, wrote and negotiated the band's landmark contract ($860,000 over 5 years as well as $25,000 of promotion money that was to be spent at the band's discretion) with Capitol Records then president, Alan Livingston in 1967. Shortly after, the band's name was shortened to the Steve Miller Band in order to broaden its appeal. The band, consisting of Miller, guitarist James Cooke, bassist Lonnie Turner, drummer Tim Davis (who replaced the departing Lance Haas on drums) and Jim Peterman on Hammond B3 organ, backed Chuck Berry at a gig at the Fillmore West that was released as the live album, Live at Fillmore Auditorium. Guitarist Boz Scaggs joined the band soon after and the group performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in June. In February 1968 while in England, they recorded their debut album Children Of The Future at Olympic studios with Glyn Johns mixing. The album was largely unsuccessful and did not score among the Top 100 album chart, but standout tracks were the acoustic tune "Baby's Calling Me Home" and funky blues number "Steppin' Stone". Closing the album is a slow version of the blues standard "Key To The Highway".
The Steve Miller Band's second album Sailor appeared in October 1968, and climbed the Billboard chart to #24. Successes included the singles "Livin' In The USA", "Lucky Man", and Boz Scaggs' "Overdrive" and "Dime-A-Dance Romance".
Miller's fanbase grew with each new album: Brave New World (#22, 1969), which featured the successful song "Space Cowboy" and the track "My Dark Hour" which was co-written by and featured Paul McCartney (aka Paul Ramon) on drums, bass, guitar and backing vocals; followed by Your Saving Grace (#38, 1969); and then Number 5 (#23, 1970).
In 1971, Miller suffered a broken neck in a car accident. Capitol Records released the album Rock Love. The album featured unreleased live performances (including an eleven-minute jam on the title track) and studio material and is one of two of Steve Miller Band albums not to be released on CD, the other being Recall the Beginning...A Journey from Eden. It is on this album that the song "Fandango" (Track 8) appeared. The first lyrics of the song read, "Kim, come and play the drum." This song was written as an invitation to drummer Kim Kopko of the band "The Black and Blues" to, as the next lyrics call, "come and join the fun", although some thought at the time that Miller was reaching out to a recently departed lady friend named Kim. In 1972, the double album compilation Anthology was released, featuring 16 songs from the band's first five albums.
The Joker (#2, 1973) showed audiences a new style of the band. The title track became a #1 single and was certified platinum for reaching over one million sales.
Three years later, the band returned with the album Fly Like An Eagle, which charted at #3. Three singles were released from the album: "Take The Money and Run" (#11), "Fly Like an Eagle" (#2) and their second Number One success, "Rock'n Me". Miller credits the guitar intro to "Rock'n Me" as a tribute to the classic song by Free, "All Right Now".
Book of Dreams (#2, 1977) also included three successes: "Jet Airliner" (#8), "Jungle Love" (#23) (later becoming the song played over the opening credits of the 8th season of the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond), and "Swingtown" (#17). 1982's Abracadabra album gave Steve Miller his third Number One success with the title track. Miller's hit pushed Chicago's "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" out of the #1 spot, just as his "Rock'n Me" had knocked Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now" out of the #1 spot in 1976.
Released in 1978, The Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits 1974-1978 has sold over 13 million copies and Miller continues to perform successful sold-out concert performances.
Bingo!, a new album of blues and R&B covers, was released on June 15, 2010. Let Your Hair Down, a companion release to Bingo!, was released 10 months later, on April 18, 2011.
Longtime band member Norton Buffalo died from lung cancer on October 30, 2009. John King (drummer during "The Joker" era) died after a short bout with kidney cancer on October 26, 2010. James Cooke died from cancer on 16 May 2011.
Blues guitarist Jacob Peterson officially joined the band before the Spring 2011 tour. Following Petersen joining the band, longtime guitarist Kenny Lee Lewis switched instruments to become the band's full-time bassist.
On November 10, 2011 the band played inside the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington to celebrate the successful delivery milestones of the 747-8 program. They opened the set with "Jet Airliner".
The group has been releasing albums and singles since 1968 and currently have released 18 studio albums, 3 live albums, 7 (official) compilation albums, and at least 29 singles.
A recurring image in Steve Miller Band album covers is the depiction of a pegasus or horse. It first appeared on the cover of Book of Dreams. A horse's head appears on the cover of their 1974-1978 greatest hits album. The pegasus appears again on the cover of their Circle of Love album. The pegasus would be given a retrofuturistic image on the cover of Living in the 20th Century. The Pegasus again appears on the cover of their 1991 greatest hits album. The silhouette of a horse's head appears on the cover of Wide River.
- ASCAP Golden Note Award, 2008.
- Has a star for "Recording" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 1750 Vine Street.
- List of bands from the San Francisco Bay Area
- Official Steve Miller website
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Image from Discogs