1977 Steve Miller Band – Swingtown
Bertha Miller was a jazz singer, and her husband was a physician who became an accomplished recording engineer. The pair lived in Milwaukee with their son Steve. They were close friends with Les Paul and Mary Ford, who frequently visited their household in the late forties. Steve began playing guitar when he was barely six years-old.
The family moved to Dallas in 1950, where some of the new household visitors included T-Bone Walker, who helped teach Steve to play the guitar. Steve played in various groups through his teenaged years, including a stint in a blues band in Chicago.
By 1966, Steve had moved to San Francisco and formed the Steve Miller Blues Band in 1966. The band backed Chuck Berry when he recorded his Live at Fillmore Auditorium album in 1968 and recorded their first album in the UK later that year after dropping the “Blues” from the band name. Their albums focused on psychedelic blues music.
The second album contained the single Living In The USA, which peaked at #94 on the Hot 100 in 1968.
The band had a difficult time reaching the charts until they retooled to playing more traditional rock music. The Joker went to the top of the Hot 100 in 1973. Their record label re-released Living In The U.S.A. and it returned to the charts in 1974, peaking at #49.
Fly Like An Eagle, The band’s next album in 1976 generated three sizeable hits: Take The Money and Run, the number one hit Rock’n Me, and the million-selling title track.
They recorded all the tracks for their next album, Book Of Dreams, during those same sessions and released that album in 1977. The first two hits from the album were Jet Airliner (#8) and Jungle Love (#23). The album included a song entitled Swingtown that ran nearly four minutes.
The record company cut about a half-minute from the song and the resulting single peaked at #17 in 1977.
Ford used the song as the background music for an ad for the 1979 Mustang.
Steve took a break from recording and touring after that album, and it was 1981 before the band recorded anything new. The band’s last new album came out in 2011, and they released two new live albums in 2014.
They inducted Steve as a solo artist in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. Steve continues to lead the band in concert appearances.
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