For close to five decades, the Steve Miller Band has been one of the rock and roll world’s constants. Though their recording career peaked in the mid-1980s from a chart standpoint, the band’s music continues to make an impact on fans of all ages around the world. Their successful tour with Journey last year proves the band’s timelessness to this day.
Miller’s music encompasses a lot of different styles and sounds, and these 10 performance represent the best of the band — from all over the stylistic map and time periods. These 10 Steve Miller Band songs prove why their music has endured over the years!
10. Steve Miller Band – “Out Of The Night”
While the groove of this song is straight out of the Steve Miller Band playbook, the emotion behind this 1984 track from Italian X Rays has one of the most emotional backstories of the band’s catalog. Miller penned the track with fellow founding member of the band, Tim Davis. Though Davis left the band in 1970, he and Miller remained close. This was their final collaboration, written at a point where the songwriter was embroiled in a tough battle with diabetes, which would claim his life in 1988.
9. Steve Miller Band – “Rock’n Me”
A song that Miller wrote for the touring festival circuit, this 1976 chart-topper lists the names of many of America’s biggest cities that have been in the singer’s path, including Atlanta, Tacoma and Philadelphia. It’s a song that refuses to go away into the night quietly, finding new life in such video games as Rock Band 2 and Grand Theft Auto V. As you can imagine, the song made quite the impact on his live crowds — especially in those cities that are mentioned.
8. Steve Miller Band – “Going To The Country”
While nobody will ever mistake the Steve Miller Band for a country outfit, there was definitely a nod to Nashville that was evident on the band’s 1970 set Number 5. Lending their instrumental talents to the session were Music City stalwarts Charlie McCoy and Buddy Spicher. Also appearing on the same album was Bobby Thompson on the banjo. Though a departure, the sound of this track isn’t too removed from such sounds of the era as Poco or the Byrds. If you haven’t heard this Steve Miller Band song, check it out. You might be a little surprised!
7. Steve Miller Band – “Take The Money and Run”
Miller attempted to borrow a page from American history with a ’70s take on Bonnie and Clyde, but with the lead characters in this 1974 single being named Billy Joe and Bobby Sue. Released from the Fly Like An Eagle album, this story song narrowly missed becoming a top 10 hit, peaking at No. 11.
6. Steve Miller Band – “Wide River”
The band’s most recent Hot 100 chart entry was far from their biggest to date — only peaking at No. 64, but sometimes the true mark of an artist is the music they make when the lights aren’t the brightest. This free-flowing, uptempo number gave Miller a chance to show off his legendary instrumental proficiency in a way that recalled the band’s glory days.
5. Steve Miller Band – “Abracadabra”
Capitol Records didn’t really believe in the ’80s classic that much. Miller had a different contract arrangement overseas, and this song became a hit in each of the countries that it was released in — including Australia, Sweden and Austria. However, their American company soon learned the error of their ways and released this song to the masses in the States, and it became the band’s final No. 1 hit. Miller once told The Dallas Morning News that the song that represented his Hot 100 victory lap was inspired by Diana Ross.
4. Steve Miller Band – “Swingtown”
The third Top 40 single from 1977’s Book of Dreams, this Steve Miller Band performance was a straightforward anthem about simply letting the good times roll. Though only a No. 17 chart entry, the song remains a crowd favorite to this day.
3. Steve Miller Band – “Fly Like An Eagle”
A million-selling single that hit No. 2 on the charts in 1977, this rock and roll evergreen received a new life when Seal covered it in 1997, making it a hit record all over again. Miller himself appeared on a cover of the song, playing guitar on The Neville Brothers’ 1992 disc Family Groove.
2. Steve Miller Band – “Jet Airliner”
The success of this essential Miller classic was something that songwriter Paul Pena had long been waiting for. He wrote and recorded the song himself in 1973, but his record company refused to release it. As it turned out, the producer of the track was none other than former Steve Miller Band member Ben Sidran, who played the song for Miller — who was hooked on the song. The release became a No. 8 hit on the Hot 100 in 1977.
1. Steve Miller Band – “The Joker”
OK, you’re probably going to accuse us going white bread and vanilla with this pick. However, the groove and the feel of this song are as undeniable today as they were upon this Steve Miller Band song’s release in the fall of 1973. Plus what other rock standard has featured the word “Pompatus?” The song has inspired a wide variety of covers over the years, ranging from k.d. lang to Mike Myers to country superstar Tim McGraw, who included this in his road show frequently during the early days of his career.