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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Mai 1976 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Steve Miller had started to essay his classic sound with The Joker, but 1976's Fly Like an Eagle is where he took flight, creating his definitive slice of space blues. The key is focus, even on an album as stylishly, self-consciously trippy as this, since the focus brings about his strongest set of songs (both originals and covers), plus a detailed atmospheric production where everything fits. It still can sound fairly dated -- those whooshing keyboards and cavernous echoes are certainly of their time -- but its essence hasn't aged, as "Fly Like an Eagle" drifts like a cool breeze, while "Take the Money and Run" and "Rock 'n Me" are fiendishly hooky, friendly rockers. The rest of the album may not be quite up to those standards, but there aren't any duds, either, as "Wild Mountain Honey" and "Mercury Blues" give this a comfortable backdrop, thanks to Miller's offhand, lazy charm. Though it may not quite transcend its time, it certainly is an album rock landmark of the mid-'70s and its best moments (namely, the aforementioned singles) are classics of the idiom. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 14. Mai 2021 | UME Direct

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Rock - Erschienen am 27. Oktober 2017 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Ultimate Hits may be something of a misnomer for the title of this 2017 compilation. In either its single CD or double-disc incarnation, Ultimate Hits contains the biggest songs from the Steve Miller Band, but they're surrounded by cuts that can't be classified as hits or even singles. This is especially true of the flagship double-disc, which opens up with an old recording of Steve Miller meeting Les Paul as a child -- a snippet that first surfaced on 1994's triple-disc box set Steve Miller Band -- followed by a live cut where Miller recounts the story for the crowd. Such sequencing suggests that Miller is more concerned with telling a narrative than presenting the nonstop party that the title Ultimate Hits suggests, and the first disc proves that to be true, offering an early airing of "The Joker" as a concession before unleashing a lot of latter-day live performances, including the only airing of the classic "Living in the U.S.A." Hits start to roll out toward the end of the first disc and carry through until halfway through the second, when the record shifts into second gear to close out the set. Several singles are absent -- "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash," "Macho City," "Wide River," "Ya Ya," "Circle of Love," "Cool Magic" among them -- which underscores that this Ultimate Hits is more of a career overview than a clearinghouse of familiar tunes. Listeners looking for just the hits should turn to 2003's Young Hearts: Complete Greatest Hits -- and, if they're all right with missing "Abracadabra," the 1978 LP Greatest Hits 1974-78 is the perfect distillation of Miller's prime -- because even in its single-disc incarnation, Ultimate Hits is too idiosyncratic for a casual fan. Instead, it's for the listener who is a serious Steve Miller Band fan but doesn't want to dig into the albums. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1982 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Steve Miller was always catchy and tuneful, but he never turned out an unabashed pop album until 1982's Abracadabra. This isn't just pop in construction, it's pop in attitude, filled with effervescent melodies and deeply silly lyrics, perhaps none more noteworthy than the immortal couplet "Abra-Abracadabra/I wanna reach out and grab ya." Those words graced the title track, which turned out to be one of his biggest hits, and if nothing else is quite as irresistibly goofy as that song, there still is a surplus of engagingly tuneful material, all dressed up in the psuedo-new wave production so favored by AOR veterans in the early '80s. All of that may not make this one of Miller's definitive albums, especially in the view of hardcore space blues heads, but it's pretty damn irresistible for listeners who find "Abracadabra" one of the highlights of faux-new wave AOR. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Mai 1977 | Steve Miller - Owned

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It is here, on this 1977 blockbuster, that Steve Miller shored up his "Space Cowboy" moniker and cosmic persona: from the winged horse on the album cover to a judicious smattering of synthesizers in the music, Book of Dreams bridged the gap between blues-rock and the indulgences of prog rock. Things do go awry when Renaissance Faire whimsy takes over clunkers like "Wish Upon a Star" and "Babes in the Wood," but luckily the balance of the record offers a satisfying blend of meaty blues and country riffs and tasteful atmospherics. The well-known suspects include "Swingtown," "Winter Time," and "Threshold," with relatively straightforward rock & boogie highlights coming by way of "True Fine Love," "Jet Airliner," and "Jungle Love." The non-hit cuts, "Sacrifice" and "My Own Space," do stand up to these FM favorites but fall short of making the album something the casual fan should consider with Miller's Greatest Hits 1974-1978 in hand (that collection includes seven tracks off of Book of Dreams, plus all the hits from The Joker and Fly Like an Eagle). Still, this is a highlight of the '70s classic rock era and one of Miller's finest releases. © Stephen Cook /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1973 | Steve Miller - Owned

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The Joker is, without question, the turning point in Steve Miller's career, the album where he infused his blues with a big, bright dose of pop and got exactly what he deserved: Top Ten hits and stardom. He also lost a lot of fans, the ones who dug his winding improvs, because those spacy jams were driven by chops and revealed new worlds. The Joker isn't mind-expanding, it's party music, filled with good vibes, never laying a heavy trip, always keeping things light, relaxed and easygoing. Sometimes, the vibes are interrupted, but not in a harsh way -- the second side slows a bit, largely due to the sludgy "Come in My Kitchen" and "Evil," the two songs that were recorded live but lacking any kinetic energy -- but for the most part, this is all bright and fun, occasionally truly silly, as on "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma." This silliness, of course, alienated old fans all the more, but that sense of fun is both the most appealing thing about The Joker and it set a touchstone for the rest of his career. Here, it's best heard on the terrific opener "Sugar Babe" and, of course, the timeless title track, which is sunny and ridiculous in equal measure. If nothing else is quite up to that standard in terms of songs -- certainly, it's not as jammed-pack as its successor, Fly Like an Eagle -- The Joker nevertheless maintains its good-time vibe so well that it's hard not to smile along...provided you're on the same wavelength as Miller, of course. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 27. Oktober 2017 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Ultimate Hits may be something of a misnomer for the title of this 2017 compilation. In either its single CD or double-disc incarnation, Ultimate Hits contains the biggest songs from the Steve Miller Band, but they're surrounded by cuts that can't be classified as hits or even singles. This is especially true of the flagship double-disc, which opens up with an old recording of Steve Miller meeting Les Paul as a child -- a snippet that first surfaced on 1994's triple-disc box set Steve Miller Band -- followed by a live cut where Miller recounts the story for the crowd. Such sequencing suggests that Miller is more concerned with telling a narrative than presenting the nonstop party that the title Ultimate Hits suggests, and the first disc proves that to be true, offering an early airing of "The Joker" as a concession before unleashing a lot of latter-day live performances, including the only airing of the classic "Living in the U.S.A." Hits start to roll out toward the end of the first disc and carry through until halfway through the second, when the record shifts into second gear to close out the set. Several singles are absent -- "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash," "Macho City," "Wide River," "Ya Ya," "Circle of Love," "Cool Magic" among them -- which underscores that this Ultimate Hits is more of a career overview than a clearinghouse of familiar tunes. Listeners looking for just the hits should turn to 2003's Young Hearts: Complete Greatest Hits -- and, if they're all right with missing "Abracadabra," the 1978 LP Greatest Hits 1974-78 is the perfect distillation of Miller's prime -- because even in its single-disc incarnation, Ultimate Hits is too idiosyncratic for a casual fan. Instead, it's for the listener who is a serious Steve Miller Band fan but doesn't want to dig into the albums. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1973 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

The Joker is, without question, the turning point in Steve Miller's career, the album where he infused his blues with a big, bright dose of pop and got exactly what he deserved: Top Ten hits and stardom. He also lost a lot of fans, the ones who dug his winding improvs, because those spacy jams were driven by chops and revealed new worlds. The Joker isn't mind-expanding, it's party music, filled with good vibes, never laying a heavy trip, always keeping things light, relaxed and easygoing. Sometimes, the vibes are interrupted, but not in a harsh way -- the second side slows a bit, largely due to the sludgy "Come in My Kitchen" and "Evil," the two songs that were recorded live but lacking any kinetic energy -- but for the most part, this is all bright and fun, occasionally truly silly, as on "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma." This silliness, of course, alienated old fans all the more, but that sense of fun is both the most appealing thing about The Joker and it set a touchstone for the rest of his career. Here, it's best heard on the terrific opener "Sugar Babe" and, of course, the timeless title track, which is sunny and ridiculous in equal measure. If nothing else is quite up to that standard in terms of songs -- certainly, it's not as jammed-pack as its successor, Fly Like an Eagle -- The Joker nevertheless maintains its good-time vibe so well that it's hard not to smile along...provided you're on the same wavelength as Miller, of course. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Januar 1978 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

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Rock - Erschienen am 14. Mai 2021 | UME Direct

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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Oktober 1968 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Most definitely a part of the late-'60s West Coast psychedelic blues revolution that was becoming hipper than hip, Steve Miller was also always acutely aware of both the British psychedelic movement that was swirling in tandem and of where the future lay, and how that would evolve into something even more remarkable. The result of all those ideas, of course, came together on 1968's magnificent Sailor LP. What was begun on Children of the Future is more fully realized on Sailor, most notably on the opening "Song for Our Ancestors," which begins with a foghorn and only gets stranger from there. Indeed, the song precognizes Pink Floyd's 1971 opus "Echoes" to such an extent that one wonders how much the latter enjoyed Miller's own wild ride. Elsewhere, the beautiful, slow "Dear Mary" positively shimmers in a haze of declared love, while the heavy drumbeats and rock riffing guitar of "Living in the U.S.A." are a powerful reminder that the Steve Miller Band, no matter what other paths they meandered down, could rock out with the best of them. And, of course, this is the LP that introduced many to the Johnny "Guitar" Watson classic "Gangster of Love," a song that would become almost wholly Miller's own, giving the fans an alter ego to caress long before "The Joker" arose to show his hand. Rounding out Miller's love of the blues is an excellent rendering of Jimmy Reed's "You're So Fine." At their blues-loving best, Sailor is a classic Miller recording and a must-have -- especially for the more contemporary fan, where it becomes an initiation into a past of mythic proportion. © Amy Hanson /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Mai 1976 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

Steve Miller had started to essay his classic sound with The Joker, but 1976's Fly Like an Eagle is where he took flight, creating his definitive slice of space blues. The key is focus, even on an album as stylishly, self-consciously trippy as this, since the focus brings about his strongest set of songs (both originals and covers), plus a detailed atmospheric production where everything fits. It still can sound fairly dated -- those whooshing keyboards and cavernous echoes are certainly of their time -- but its essence hasn't aged, as "Fly Like an Eagle" drifts like a cool breeze, while "Take the Money and Run" and "Rock 'n Me" are fiendishly hooky, friendly rockers. The rest of the album may not be quite up to those standards, but there aren't any duds, either, as "Wild Mountain Honey" and "Mercury Blues" give this a comfortable backdrop, thanks to Miller's offhand, lazy charm. Though it may not quite transcend its time, it certainly is an album rock landmark of the mid-'70s and its best moments (namely, the aforementioned singles) are classics of the idiom. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 11. Oktober 2019 | Steve Miller

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Rock - Erschienen am 16. Juni 1969 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Blasting out of stereo speakers in the summer of 1969, Brave New World was more fully realized, and rocked harder, than the Steve Miller Band's first two albums. From the opening storm of the uplifting title track to the final scorcher, "My Dark Hour," featuring Paul McCartney (credited as "Paul Ramon"), this recording was the strongest project before Miller's Fly Like an Eagle days. "Celebration Song" has a sliding bassline, while "LT's Midnight Dream" features Miller's slide guitar. "Can't You Hear Your Daddy's Heartbeat" sounds like it was lifted right off of Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced, and "Got Love 'Cause You Need It" also has a Hendrix-ian feel. "Kow Kow" is a wonderfully oblique song featuring Nicky Hopkins' distinctive piano style. Hopkins' piano coda on that song alone is worth the price of this album. "Space Cowboy," one of several songs co-written with Ben Sidran, defined one of Miller's many personas. "Seasons," another Sidran collaboration, is a beautifully atmospheric, slow-tempo piece. Steve Miller's guitar playing is the star of this album, blazing across the whole affair more prominently than on any other release in his lengthy career; many of the songs have a power trio feel. In addition to the fine guitar work, Miller's vocals are stronger here, and during this era in general, than they would be in his hitmaking days in the mid-'70s, when he was much more laid-back and overdubbed. Ever the borrower, adapter, and integrator, Steve Miller shapes the blues, psychedelia, sound effects, sweet multi-tracked vocal harmonies, and guitar-driven hard rock into one cohesive musical statement with this release. © Jim Newsom /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Mai 1977 | CAPITOL CATALOG MKT (C92)

It is here, on this 1977 blockbuster, that Steve Miller shored up his "Space Cowboy" moniker and cosmic persona: from the winged horse on the album cover to a judicious smattering of synthesizers in the music, Book of Dreams bridged the gap between blues-rock and the indulgences of prog rock. Things do go awry when Renaissance Faire whimsy takes over clunkers like "Wish Upon a Star" and "Babes in the Wood," but luckily the balance of the record offers a satisfying blend of meaty blues and country riffs and tasteful atmospherics. The well-known suspects include "Swingtown," "Winter Time," and "Threshold," with relatively straightforward rock & boogie highlights coming by way of "True Fine Love," "Jet Airliner," and "Jungle Love." The non-hit cuts, "Sacrifice" and "My Own Space," do stand up to these FM favorites but fall short of making the album something the casual fan should consider with Miller's Greatest Hits 1974-1978 in hand (that collection includes seven tracks off of Book of Dreams, plus all the hits from The Joker and Fly Like an Eagle). Still, this is a highlight of the '70s classic rock era and one of Miller's finest releases. © Stephen Cook /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. Mai 1968 | CAPITOL

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A psychedelic blues rock-out, 1968's Children of the Future marked Steve Miller's earliest attempt at the ascent that brought him supersonic superstardom. Recorded at Olympic Studios in London with storied producer Glyn Johns at the helm, the set played out as pure West Coast rock inflected with decade-of-love psychedelia but intriguingly cloaked in the misty pathos of the U.K. blues ethic. Though bandmate Boz Scaggs contributed a few songs, the bulk of the material was written by Miller while working as a janitor at a music studio in Texas earlier in the year. The best of his efforts resonate in a side one free-for-all that launches with the keys and swirls of the title track and segues smoothly through "Pushed Me Through It" and "In My First Mind," bound for the epic, hazy, lazy, organ-inflected "The Beauty of Time Is That It's Snowing," which ebbs and flows in ways that are continually surprising. The second half of the LP is cast in a different light -- a clutch of songs that groove together but don't have the same sleepy flow. Though it has since attained classic status -- Miller himself was still performing it eight years later -- Scaggs' "Baby's Callin' Me Home" is a sparse, lightly instrumentalized piece of good old '60s San Francisco pop. His "Steppin' Stone," on the other hand, is a raucous, heavy-handed blues freakout with a low-riding bass and guitar breaks that angle out in all directions. And whether the title capitalized at all on the Monkees' similarly titled song, released a year earlier, is anybody's guess. Children of the Future was a brilliant debut. And while it is certainly a product of its era, it's still a vibrant reminder of just how the blues co-opted the mainstream to magnificent success. © Amy Hanson /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. März 1972 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Rock - Erschienen am 19. April 2011 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Let Your Hair Down is a follow-up to Steve Miller's Bingo! from 2010, and the tracks for this new release were recorded at the same sessions at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch studio with Andy Johns engineering and co-producing, and like Bingo!, Let Your Hair Down finds Miller re-exploring his Chicago blues roots. Miller and his band have always included a few old blues numbers in their concerts, so these are road-tested gems that are obviously close to Miller's heart and soul, and they include the last recordings of Miller's longtime collaborator (and harmonica whiz) Norton Buffalo, who died of lung cancer in 2009 shortly after these sessions. Miller has always had the ability to adapt blues forms into his pop work, but this outing, like Bingo!, is a full-fledged blues record, not a pop one, and fans of his classic rock should be aware that Miller, although his lead guitar work is everywhere here, doesn’t do all of the singing, with Sonny Charles and others handling lead vocals on some of the cuts. That said, Let Your Hair Down feels like a more realized snapshot of Miller's blues adaptations than even the highly admired Bingo! was, and although it’s difficult to imagine the blues being exactly joyous, there is a passionate joy in these time-tested grooves, and it’s obvious both of these albums have been a labor of love for Miller and his band. Miller doesn’t pop-style these cuts up, either -- this is the blues as he sees it, and thankfully he’s as sly and charming as ever here. Highlights include a delightfully tense version of Muddy Waters' “Can’t Be Satisfied,” a grooved-out take on Rosco Gordon's “Just a Little Bit,” a Jimmy Reed cover, “Close Together,” fine takes on Willie Dixon's “Pretty Thing” and “Love the Life I Live,” and a visit to Robert Johnson territory with “Sweet Home Chicago.” The next obvious step would be for someone to package Let Your Hair Down and Bingo! together in a single package, because both albums work as complementary bookends. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Rock - Erschienen am 1. November 1969 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Rock - Erschienen am 21. Juni 2010 | Steve Miller - Owned

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Bingo! is the Steve Miller Band's first studio record in 17 years. Thematically, it's a look back at the the electric blues and R&B that influenced him as a young man. Issued on his own Space Cowboy imprint, is also the final recorded appearance of blues harmonica great Norton Buffalo who passed away in 2009. Blues classics by B.B. King, Lowell Fulsom, Otis Rush, Howlin' Wolf, Earl King, Jimmy Reed, and Jessie Hill are here, along with three selections by contemporary bluesman Jimmie Vaughan. What all of these tracks all have in common is Miller's signature approach: he is a stellar guitarist who has no need to show off, a tight arranger, and an intuitive modern producer (with help from Andy Johns).These 14 tunes (all under four minutes) actually extend the electric blues tradition. While paying tribute to his heroes and contemporaries, there are also nods to his own history as a recording artist. Check Vaughan's "Hey Yeah," with wah-wah guitars and killer solo breaks in the intro and verses. Miller's and Buffalo's harmonies are tight, and evoke the early fusion of blues with psychedelic rock (à la the earliest Steve Miller Band). One can also hear traces of Jimi Hendrix's production style in the tune as well as in his stellar version of Rush's "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)," that adds some gorgeous Latin percussion -- courtesy of Michael Carabello and Adrian Areas --to the silvery, reverb-laden guitar work. Fulsom's "Tramp" has that trademark opening chord, but the rest is pure Miller. He plays sparely, but with swagger aplenty, the funky shuffle at its heart played by rhythm guitar ace Kenny Lee is deep in the pocket; the vocal trade-off between Sonny Charles and Miller is priceless. The lone ballad on the set is the Vaughan/Nile Rodgers' tune "Sweet Soul Vibe." With Joe Satriani guesting (he appears on "Rock Me Baby" as well) it touches on gospel, soul, and modern R&B. Miller's and Satriani's alternate leads are deceptively sweet, but they feel more like knives being sharpened and carried confidently in sheaths. Earl King's "Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)" is a burning solo workout and takes the party jam into an entirely new musical dimension. Vocally, Miller touches on his '70s persona, but it's only a glance; the rest is burning blues. There are also four bonus tracks, the most notable are readings of Elmore James' "Look on Yonder Wall" -- with a killer vocal from Charles -- and the closer, Roosevelt Sykes' "Drivin' Wheel," with Miller's filthiest guitar work of the set. This is a welcome return for Miller, and a must for modern electric blues fans. © Thom Jurek /TiVo