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Music / Steve Miller Band

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Steve Miller, seen here without his band

"Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
'Cause I speak of the pompatus of love"
— "The Joker"

The Steve Miller Band is a rock band from San Francisco that has been active since 1967, led by eponymous guitarist, singer and songwriter Steve Miller. Of course there are other members, but the band's had such a High Turnover Rate in this area that listing them all would turn this page into a Doorstopper. Check The Other Wiki instead.

Their initial career was marked by a fusion of Psychedelic Rock with Blues Rock, which contained heavy jamming, improvisation and occasional bits of other genres like Country Music and Folk Music. This style, as showcased on every album between Children of the Future and Recall the Beginning, proved reasonably popular and well-received, with a couple of hits in songs like "Space Cowboy" and "Living in the USA", decent chart placements, and positive reviews. Starting with The Joker, Miller toned down the jamming and made his brand of space blues more accessible, with the result being a string of five albums that made the band really, really popular and spawned some famous hits like "The Joker", "Swingtown", "Fly Like an Eagle", "Take the Money and Run", "Rock'n Me", "Jet Airliner", "Jungle Love" and "Abracadabra". The band's popularity entered a downward slide after Abracadabra, and they eventually retired from making albums after 1993, but they still tour every now and then.

They finally emerged from their hiatus in 2010 with a new Cover Album, Bingo!.

In 2016, Miller was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He wasn't too happy about it, though.


  • Children of the Future (1968)
  • Sailor (1968)
  • Brave New World (1969)
  • Your Saving Grace (1969)
  • Number 5 (1970)
  • Recall the Beginning...A Journey from Eden (1972)
  • The Joker (1973)
  • Fly Like an Eagle (1976)
  • Book of Dreams (1977)
  • Circle of Love (1981)
  • Abracadabra (1982)
  • Italian X-Rays (1984)
  • Living in the 20th Century (1986)
  • Born 2B Blue (1988) (a Steve Miller solo album made up entirely of covers)
  • Wide River (1993)
  • Bingo! (2010) (another Cover Album of blues standards)
  • Let Your Hair Down (2011)

I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight troper:

  • Animal Motifs: Horses and pegasi appear in a handful of their album art, including their greatest hits compilation.
  • Continuity Nod: The opening lines of "The Joker", quoted atop the page, contain references to the earlier songs "Space Cowboy", "Gangster of Love", and "Enter Maurice".
    • "Space Cowboy" itself references "Gangster of Love" as well as "Living in the U.S.A."
    • The opening riff of "Fly Like an Eagle" is borrowed from "My Dark Hour".
  • Cover Version: "Key to the Highway" by Big Bill Broonzy, "Gangster of Love" by Johnny Watson, "You're So Fine" by Jimmy Reed, "Motherless Children" (a traditional song), "Your Cash Ain't Nothing But Trash" by Chuck Calhoun, "Come on in My Kitchen" by Woody Payne, "Mercury Blues" by K.C. Douglas, "You Send Me" by Sam Cooke, "Jet Airliner" by Paul Pena, "Get on Home" (another traditional song), "I Wanna Be Loved (But Only By You)" by Jimmy Reed, "My Babe" by Willie Dixon, the entire Born 2 B Blue album, "Stranger Blues" by Elmore James.
  • Epic Rocking: "Key to the Highway", "Baby's House", "Jackson-Kent Blues", "Love Shock", "Deliverance", "Journey from Eden", "Circle of Love", "Macho City".
  • Genre-Busting: Blues, folk- and country-influenced rock with psychedelic production, Progressive Rock-like jamming, up-to-date synth starting in The '70s and New Wave-influenced production in The '80s, and that's just in general.
  • Genre Roulette: Their albums tended towards this. For example, Fly Like an Eagle includes: two synth-based instrumental intros, the mellow title track, Blues Rock with "Mercury Blues", Hard Rock with "Rock'n Me" and "Take the Money and Run", the psychedelic, sitar-employing "Wild Mountain Honey", the Country Music "Dance, Dance, Dance", the disco beat of "Serenade", the Soul cover "You Send Me" and the Folk Rock with synths "The Window".
  • Greatest Hits Album: Several. 1978's Greatest Hits 197478 is the biggest seller in Miller's catalogue and one of the best-selling albums ever, having sold over 13 million copies in the U.S. alone.
  • Hayseed Name: Take the Money and Run features the criminals Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue, who are chased by a Texas detective named Billy Mack.
  • Least Rhymable Word: In "Take the Money and Run":
    Billy Mack is a detective down in Texas
    You know he knows just exactly what the facts is
    He ain't gonna let those two escape justice
    He makes his livin' off of the people's taxes
  • Listing Cities: "Rock'n Me" includes a list of the following cities: Phoenix, Tacoma, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A. and ends with the northern California area.
  • New Sound Album: The Joker saw the band take on a more radio-friendly sound. Italian X-Rays shows a heavy Synth-Pop influence.
  • Outlaw Couple: "Take the Money and Run" is about Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue, two criminals on the run after Billy Joe shoots someone in his castle.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: What the hell's a "pompatus"? It's actually a Nonce Word and even a mondegreen: Steve Miller heard the word "puppetutes" in a songnote  and misinterpreted it.
  • Red Herring Twist: Billy Mack, the detective from "Take the Money and Run," is introduced, but never brings the bandits Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue to justice (or does anything, for that matter).
  • Siamese Twin Songs: Threshold and Jet Airliner are frequently played on classic rock stations together.
  • Shout-Out: The lines "You're the cutest thing that I ever did see/Really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree/Lovey dovey, lovey dovey all the time" from "The Joker" are quotes from the song "Lovey Dovey" by The Clovers.
  • Something Blues: "Jackson-Kent Blues", "Mercury Blues", "Stranger Blues"
  • Song of Song Titles: "The Joker" includes several lines from "Lovey Dovey" by the Clovers.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Boz Scaggs, who was Miller's co-guitarist before leaving for a solo career, composed and contributes lead vocals to several songs on the first two albums.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: "Some people call me Maurrrice."

Alternative Title(s): Steve Miller