Steve Miller Band
ven though he had the number one single in America in January 1974 with "The Joker," Steve Miller still wasn't happy. With his personal and business life in shambles, something snapped. In a fit of rage, he threw all of his girlfriend's clothes into the fireplace. It was time, he would realize, to take a sabbatical.
"Se we went in and cut 22 tunes," he said. "We worked on them for a couple of weeks and came out with two albums." The sessions had gone so well because Miller knew exactly what he wanted the music to sound like. "It had to have some hot rock and roll, some heavy music, some light music, a lot of different textures."
Released in May, 1976, Fly Like an Eagle would yield three hit singles. The first, "Take the Money and Run," reached number 11 in July, 1976. "Rock'n Me," the second single, was originally a throwaway tune composed for an isolated appearance at a British pop festival. Its catchy opening paid tribute to the late Paul Kossoff's intro to the classic Free single, "All Right Now."
"Yeah, it's a tack on the wall for Paul," Miller acknowledged. "I did one concert in the two year I was off the road. I went to London and played with Pink Floyd... It was a big, huge outdoor show so we needed a big rock and roll number that was really going to excite everybody. I just put it together and didn't think much about it. It knocked them out so we recorded it."
Whatever its genesis, "Rock'n Me" was an immediate audience grabber. It didn't do too badly on the Billboard Hot 100 either, entering the chart at number 85 on August 14, 1976, and becoming Miller's second number one single 12 weeks later. The title track from the LP did almost as well. "Fly Like an Eagle" soared to number two for two weeks in March, 1977.
Fly Like an Eagle was the 33-year-old Miller's second solo production credit, and though he claims to be his own toughest critic, he admitted enjoying the triple challenge of being writer, musician and producer. As he told one interviewer in 1982, "My situation is similar to George Bernard Shaw when he describes this great hat stand next to his desk which has nine different hats: one for gardening, one for going to the cricket matches, etc. Next to my desk I've got five hats: one of them is a producer's hat, one of them is the stage show producer, one is songwriter, one is Steve Miller the guitar player and another one is the editor, the guy with the eraser... And since I'm such a harsh critic, I feel that I have a closer bond with my audience. They know if they buy my records, the quality will be high."
- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.
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