Greatest Hits 1974-78
Steve Miller Band
Released: November 1978
Chart Peak: #18
Weeks Charted: 18
Certified Platinum: 11/27/78
Capitol is betting that Steve Miller's popularity is huge enough to warrant an extra dollar on the list price. Considering the 14 songs here culled from Miller's last three studio albums, The Joker, Fly Like An Eagle and Book Of Dreams, it's worth it. Miller's guitar lines, vocals and lyrics maintain a punchy, bookish and often humorous pace as his players support him with the kind of stuff it takes to make hits out of the ordinary. Best cuts: They're all the songs that made Miller a steady platinum seller.
- Billboard, 1978.
In which Miller selects seven tracks from Book of Dreams (I'd omit the garbled non-original "Jungle Love" and the long synthesizer intro to "Jet Airliner," but he did bag every good one), six from Fly Like an Eagle (an easier job), and one from The Joker (ditto), revealing a California singles artist as likably lightweight as Jan & Dean. This music may recycle blues riffs, but its spirit is pure escapist pop; country living replaces surf and cars as utopian metaphor and Miller's voice, always too slight for real blues, sounds suitably out-of-it. As philosophy it's venal, but as unabashed diversion it's pretty nice. After all, was he ever good for anything else? A-
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
His second greatest hits album, The Best of Steve Miller Band 1974-1978 stayed on the best-seller lists for several years after its release. * * * *
- Joel Selvin, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
For someone who was regarded as the epitome of middle-of-the-road album rock in the Seventies and the Eighties, Steve Miller had a pretty hip upbringing. A bluesy guitar prodigy who grew up in Milwaukee (where he got his first lesson from Les Paul) and in Texas (where he hung with T-Bone Walker), Miller cut his teeth during the mid-Sixties in Chicago's famed blues clubs. After an appearance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, he was signed to Capitol Records and played increasingly trippy rock with the Steve Miller Blues Band, a group that, for a time, featured another up-and-comer named Boz Scaggs.
But it was during the golden period documented on Greatest Hits 1974-78 that Miller suddenly blossomed into a full-fledged pop star, creating the sort of Sensurround, singalong confections of which memorable road trips are made, and which blows minds when played on those big, old-school Koss headphones. The perennially popular Greatest Hits 1974-78 cherry-picks the best fruit from Miller's tree, from the sly and snaky title track of 1973's The Joker through the high points of 1976's Fly Like an Eagle -- the gleeful "Take the Money and Run," the fantastically minimalist "Rock 'N Me" and the tasty "Wild Mountain Honey." Miller did fine work both before ("Living in the U.S.A.") and after (a return to the blues for 1988's Born 2B Blue), but Greatest Hits - 1974-78 is an easy, well-sequenced way to rewind through his evergreens. Meanwhile, a funny thing happened on the way to the twenty-first century: As fans such as Sheryl Crow and Tom Petty can attest, Steve Miller has gotten hip. * * * * 1/2
- David Wild, Rolling Stone, 6/6/02.
No matter your age, this multiplatinum blast from the past probably evokes memories of college keg parties. Filled with catchy, easy-to-sing-along-to tunes, this classic summer rock collection makes you stand up and dance. But dissenters steamed by overkill kvetch that "it would be a masterpiece if only most every fan hadn't heard every single five-million times." * * * *
- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.
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