Fly Like An Eagle
The Steve Miller Band
Released: May 1976
Chart Peak: #3
Weeks Charted: 97
Certified Platinum: 9/27/76
Fly Like An Eagle may be the most complete and effective musical statement Steve Miller has ever made. Always enigmatic, always eclectic, Miller's albums have usually been ill-fitting jigsaw puzzles, but in this latest album he puts all of his cards on the table, face up. The result is a full house of rock & roll.
As usual, Miller taps various genres such as the blues and straightforward rock, and, as usual, he's lyrically preoccupied with mental and physical space. He pieces it all together with surprising simplicity.
There are echoes from a past in "Serenade," a long, hypnotic track propelled by Gary Mallaber's tense, smart drumming, "Wild Mountain Honey," with its swirling electric sitar strains, and the dreamlike "The Window." I've never doubted that Steve Miller could do anything he wanted musically. On Fly Like An Eagle, he does more than I could ever hope to ask for.
- Billy Altman, Rolling Stone, 7-15-76.
- Billboard, 1976.
Miller's eccentricity -- James Cotton harp amid the Sam Cooke amid the technological ditties -- has no center or even epicenter except for the pastoral antimaterialism so common among exurbanite rock tycoons. But in the end his borrowed hooks and woozy vocal charm are an irresistible formula. Finds good covers, too -- "Mercury Blues" (copyright 1970 by K.C. Douglas, whoever he is) fits right in. B+
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
In his effort to create the ultimate playable album, Miller re-incorporated his interest in spacey sound effects and neat segues and synthesized them with a batch of tightly crafted light pop/rock tunes. The result generated a load of seamless hits like "Take the Money and Run," "Rock 'n Me," and the title track. * * *
- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
Fly Like an Eagle contains the best single all-around look at Steve Miller's great gifts. * * * *
- Joel Selvin, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
Steve Miller started with a spacey blues sound that drew on the San Francisco ballroom bands of the Sixties. Then a 1972 car accident sidelined him for nearly a year. He came back with an irrepressible pop-rock sound that dominated Seventies radio: slick guitar boogie as catchy as Abba and as danceable as disco. "Rock 'n Me," "Take the Money and Run," "Dance, Dance, Dance" and the title track kept Fly Like an Eagle on the charts for nearly two years.
Fly Like an Eagle was chosen as the 450th greatest album of all time by the editors of Rolling Stone magazine in Dec. 2003.
- Rolling Stone, 12/11/03.
The Steve Miller who re-emerged in the spring of 1976 after almost three years without a new record was rejuvenated and clearly focused in Fly Like An Eagle, his most commercially-accessible music yet.
Despite achieving past successes with the likes of The Joker, the period leading up to the making of this album had been so troubling personally and professionally for Miller that he took off to a remote part of Oregon and set up a farm. When he finally brought his band together to record again they cut 22 tracks in just two weeks. Fly Like An Eagle was released May 1976, featuring Lonnie Turner on bass and Gary Mallaber on drums. What these sessions produced was less of the blues feel of the past and a switch to a more mainstream pop/rock sound that was raw, melodic and, crucially, to the point. The change is illustrated by "Rock 'n' Me" which, with a nod to Free's "All Right Now," was originally just a "throwaway" song penned for a UK festival appearance in July 1975 but became his second Hot 100 number one.
Fly Like An Eagle spawned two single smashes, the title track and "Take The Money And Run," while the album itself hit Number Three in the US and Number Eleven in the UK in May 1976. It spent 97 weeks in the charts.
As of 2004, Fly Like An Eagle was the #56 best-selling album of the 70s.
- Hamish Champ, The 100 Best-Selling Albums of the 70s, 2004.
(30th Anniversary Edition) In the late Sixties, Steve Miller began as a young singer-guitarist mixing up hard-edged blues with the psych-rock coming out of his adopted hometown of San Francisco. After a 1972 car accident sidelined him for nearly a year, he came back as a pop-rock hitmaker beholden to young Homer Simpson types and millions of others. Fly Like an Eagle -- reissued here with remastered sound, three demos and a DVD of interviews and concert footage -- found him combining indelible riffs, sly, catchy tunes and danceable grooves into songs that still light up rock radio. There are some duff cuts here ("You Send Me") and some hippie indulgence in the album's psych-rock moments ("The Window") and synth experiments ("Blue Odyssey"). But the 1976 album's three hits -- "Take the Money and Run," "Rock 'n Me" and the seductive title track -- still sound inspired, and even the blues stuff ("Mercury Blues") is plenty engaging, thanks to Miller's tune sense. * * * *
- Christian Hoard, Rolling Stone, 7-13-06.
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