Steve Miller Band was part of the iconic San Francisco music scene. Albums like Children of the Future added to the hallucinatory counter-culture. .However, their music also had many overtones of classic Americana. As the 70s began, the band shifted into a sound a traditional rock and roll sound. Many of their best-known songs are from this decade. Steve Miller’s early love of music was from his father. Despite working in the medical industry, he knew iconic singers like Les Paul, who taught Miller how to play the guitar. Additionally, he let him sit in on sessions at an early age. Steve Millers’ first group was called Marksmen Combo. He formed the group with Boz Skaggs at the age of 12. Later, the pair collaborated again while studying at the Univesity of Wisconsin, starting two groups; The Ardells and Fabulous Night Trains. Miller wanted to play blues, so he moved to Chicago in 1964. The next stop was San Francisco which began his rise to fame. James “Curly Cooke Lonnie Taylor and Tim Davis formed the Steve Miller Blues Band. Former bandmate Boz Scaggs replaced Curly cooke before the iconic Monterey Pop Festival. According to stevemillerband, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. Additionally, it is confirmed that the group will also be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. These are the ten best Steve Miller Band songs.
According to songfacts, the lyrics of this song were inspired by Diana Ross and the Supremes, who Steve Miller met on NBC’s Hullabaloo in 1966. Many people criticized the inappropriate lyrics; however, it was another group’s songs you can’t help but sing along when it comes to the radio. It was the last number one hit for the group. Their style was fading as the generation of punk and hairbands began to dominate the airwaves.
9. While I’m Waiting
While I’m Waiting was another song from the Abracadabra Album. It was a softer side of the band. They toned down the traditional rock and roll style to soft rock. While I’m Waiting is one of the group’s b-list songs that, even though it never made it to cult status like other songs, adds to the depth and creativity of the band.
8. Space Cowboy
According to allmusic, Steve Miller wrote a few songs he considered autobiographical. The song is a play on the revolutionary ideas of the sixties, with Miller almost mocking them. He also adds elements of Darwin’s theories; only the strong survive. It never had the same fame as The Joker but is still one of the group’s best songs.
7. Jet Airliner
Paul Pena was the writer and original singer of this song. He played it at the Newport Folk festival in 1969, but it was never successful. After Steve Miller Band made it famous, Pena lived on the song’s royalties for the rest of his life. When it was on the radio, there was one alternative verse, so it did not need to be edited.
6. I Want to Make the World Turn Around
I Want to Make the World Turn Around is another of Steve Miller Band’s songs that make a political statement. Their distinctive sound and social consciousness were another pieces of the group’s iconic fame. The song is a wish for a more united world despite the hate that occurs so often. It’s also a song that has endured the test of time because many of the same issues are still happening today. Many songs from that era were about motivating for peace, and this song certainly fits in with the best of that list.
5. Rock ‘N Me
Many people hear similarities to Free’s All Right Now. Miller later admitted he used the same guitar lick. He wrote this song specifically for the radio because he likes upbeat and catchy sing-along songs. Even though the song is catchy with many plays on words and a map of the united states, the lyrics are simply about a man who wants to get back to a woman and hopefully make their relationship work.
4. Fly Like An Eagle
Although the radio version was much shorter, the live performance spanned twelve minutes. The group built their songs with space for spur-of-the-moment guitar interludes, and despite being radio standards, they still enjoyed jamming out. The album starts with a cosmic intro, and many people think it is part of the same song.
3. Jungle Love
This song peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Charts. Greg Douglas wrote this song for Dave Mason but gave Steve Miller the demo on the last day of their sessions for Book of Dreams. Like many of Steve Miller’s songs, some lyrics were tinged with innuendo. Nonetheless, it’s a hit that compels you to sing along.
2. Take the Money and Run
This song has the campy feel of a cops and robbers story. It’s about a young couple who decide to go on a robbery spree because they have nothing else going on that day. Steve Miller allowed Run-D.M.C. to sample it on a song in 2001 with Everlast even though he turned down lending his lyrics to other songs many times before. He decided to let them use it after he heard their recording.
1. The Joker
According to songfacts.com, the line “I really love your peaches wanna shake your tree…” was taken from an R&B song initially sung by the Clovers. It was a bit of a misstep because the co-writer later sued Steve Miller Band. Regardless of any copyright infringement, this song remains one of Steve Miller Band’s most iconic hits. This song was on their eighth album when Steve Miller Band’s popularity was starting to fade. The group decided to change their style and record this iconic song which turned their career around.