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In 1965 after moving to Chicago to play the blues, Steve Miller and keyboardist Barry Goldberg founded the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band along with bassist Shawn Yoder, rhythm guitarist Craymore Stevens, and drummer Lance Haas. The band was contracted to Epic Records after playing many Chicago clubs. They also appeared on Hullabaloo with the Four Tops and the Supremes.
Miller left the group to go to San Francisco where the psychedelic scene was flourishing. He then formed the Steve Miller Blues Band. Harvey Kornspan, managing partner, wrote and negotiated the band’s landmark contract ($860,000 over 5 years as well as $25,000 of promotion money that was to be spent at the band’s discretion) with Capitol Records then president, Alan Livingston in 1967. Shortly after, the band’s name was shortened to the Steve Miller Band in order to broaden its appeal. The band, consisting of Miller, guitarist James Cooke, bassist Lonnie Turner, drummer Tim Davis (who replaced the departing Lance Haas on drums) and Jim Peterman on Hammond B3 organ, backed Chuck Berry at a gig at the Fillmore West that was released as the live album, Live at Fillmore Auditorium. Guitarist Boz Scaggs joined the band soon after and the group performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in June.
In February 1968, while in England, the band recorded their debut album Children Of The Future at Olympic studios with Glyn Johns mixing. The album was largely unsuccessful and did not score among the Top 100 album chart, but standout tracks were the acoustic tune “Baby’s Calling Me Home” and funky blues number “Steppin’ Stone”. Closing the album is a slow version of the blues standard “Key To The Highway”.
The Steve Miller Band’s second album Sailor appeared in October 1968, and climbed the Billboard chart to #24. Successes included the singles “Livin’ In The USA”, “Lucky Man”, and Boz Scaggs’ “Overdrive” and “Dime-A-Dance Romance”.
In 1971, Miller suffered a broken neck in a car accident. Capitol Records released the album Rock Love. The album featured unreleased live performances (including an eleven-minute jam on the title track) and studio material and is one of two of Steve Miller Band albums not to be released on CD, the other being Recall the Beginning…A Journey from Eden. In 1972, the double album compilation Anthology was released, featuring 16 songs from the band’s first five albums.
The Joker showed audiences a new style of the band. The title track became a #1 single and was certified platinum for reaching over one million sales. Three years later, the band returned with the album Fly Like An Eagle, which charted at #3. Three singles were released from the album: “Take The Money and Run”, “Fly Like an Eagle” and their second Number One success, “Rock’n Me”. Miller credits the guitar intro to “Rock’n Me” as a tribute to the classic song by Free, “All Right Now”.
Book of Dreams also included three successes: “Jet Airliner”, “Jungle Love” and “Swingtown”. 1982’s Abracadabra album gave Steve Miller his third Number One success with the title track. Miller’s hit pushed Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” out of the #1 spot, just as his “Rock’n Me” had knocked Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now” out of the #1 spot in 1976.
Longtime band member Norton Buffalo died from lung cancer on October 30, 2009. John King (drummer during “The Joker” era) died after a short bout with kidney cancer on October 26, 2010. James Cooke died from cancer on 16 May 2011.
Blues guitarist Jacob Peterson officially joined the band before the Spring 2011 tour. Following Petersen joining the band, longtime guitarist Kenny Lee Lewis switched instruments to become the band’s full-time bassist.
Tribute performed by Definitive Rock Concerts & Pirate Metal