Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Steve Miller Band, The #30 Artist of the Seventies*

Guitarist Steve Miller and keyboard player Barry Goldberg founded the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band in 1965 along with bassist Shawn Yoder, rhythm guitarist Craymore Stevens, and drummer Lance Haas.  After playing clubs throughout the Chicago, Illinois area, the band signed a recording contract with Epic Records.

Miller left the group to move to San Francisco, California, and form his own group, the Steve Miller Blues Band.  The group consisted of Miller, guitarist James Cooke, Lonnie Turner on bass, drummer Tim Davis, and Jim Peterman on organ.  Manager Harvey Kornspan wrote the group's contract with Capitol Records in 1967, which by coincidence was signed on this very day 47 years ago.  The group shortened their name to the Steve Miller Band, and they backed Chuck Berry at the Fillmore West, a set that was later released as the live album, Live at Fillmore Auditorium.  Guitarist Boz Scaggs joined the group shortly afterwards, and the Steve Miller Band performed at the famous 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

The group recorded their debut album Children of the Future in 1968, and their second album Sailor later that year.  They enjoyed a minor hit with "Living in the U.S.A."  Scaggs left for a very successful solo career after the first two albums.  The group released the album Your Saving Grace in 1969.

In 1970, the Steve Miller Band released the album Number 5, which climbed to #23 on the Album chart.  Miller, however, suffered a serious car accident the following year, in which he broke his neck.  Capitol filled the gap in releases with the live album Rock Love and the double compilation album Anthology.

With Miller fully recovered, the group released the album Recall the Beginning...A Journey from Eden.  When it did not sell well, the group returned to the studio, and released the album The Joker in 1973.  The title song became their breakthrough hit, reaching #1 in the U.S., the U.K., New Zealand, and the Netherlands, and placing at #2 in Canada, and selling over one million copies.

Three years later, the band emerged with the album Fly Like an Eagle.  The lead single ("Take The Money And Run") was underrated at #8 in Canada and #11 in the United States.

The album went to #3 on the Album chart and became one of the year's top releases, eventually going over four million in sales.  The follow-up single was "Rock'n Me", a #1 smash in both the U.S. and Canada.

The title song "Fly Like An Eagle" landed at #2 in both the United States and Canada, and has only gotten more popular over the years because of its message.  "Fly Like An Eagle" was cited two years ago on Inside The Rock Era as one of The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era*.

"Serenade" was released to little success, but it remains a Top Track* and a fan favorite from the album.

It was quite a year for the group, but they returned with another amazing album the following year, Book of Dreams.

Book of Dreams went to #2 on the Album chart, and has now topped three million in sales in the U.S. alone.  That's quite a pair of albums back-to-back.  The Steve Miller Band released "Jet Airliner" as a single, and it rocketed to #3 in Canada and #8 in the United States.  You can judge the quality of a radio station by how they play it; good ones always play "Threshold" as a prelude to it.

The single "Jungle Love" was a bit underrated at #18 in Canada and #23 in the U.S.

The SMB pulled another hit from the album, as "Swingtown" reached #13 in Canada and #17 in the United States. 

The group released their compilation album the following year.  Greatest Hits 1974-1978 was a phenomenal success at 13 million albums sold in the United States alone.

The group didn't release another album until 1982, after the cutoff period for the purposes of this special.  They scored their third career #1 song that year with "Abracadabra".

in 1987, the Steve Miller Band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  In 2008, the Steve Miller Band received the Golden Note Award from ASCAP. 

Miller and the group continue to perform sold-out concerts, and he released new albums in 2010 and 2011.  The Steve Miller Band is currently touring with fellow San Francisco group Journey.

The Steve Miller Band sold over 21.5 million albums in the U.S. alone in the Seventies.  They scored ten hits in the decade, with four Top 10 songs and two #1's. 

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