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Meet Boz Scaggs [PHOTOS, VIDEOS]

Boz Best Of
Best Of Boz Scaggs, 1980 (Craig Allen photo)

As I have said on-air on New Jersey 101.5, when playing a Boz Scaggs song, the birth certificate says William Royce Scaggs.  “Boz” was born in Canton Ohio, on June 8th, 1944.

Scaggs was the son of a traveling salesman. After Canton, the family moved to Oklahoma.  Then, the U-Haul was packed up for  to Plano, Texas, where Scaggs attended a Dallas private school, St. Mark’s. A classmate gave him the nickname “Bosley,” which eventually became “Boz.”

After learning guitar when he was12, the newly-named Boz met Steve Miller at St. Mark’s. In 1959, he became the vocalist for Miller’s band, “The Marksmen.” The pair later attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison together, playing in blues bands, on and around campus.

Leaving school, Scaggs briefly joined the rhythm and blues scene in London. Later, he traveled to Sweden as a solo performer, and in 1965 recorded his solo debut album “Boz,” which was not a commercial success.

Returning to the U.S. in 1967, Scaggs promptly headed to San Francisco. The city was the center of the psychedelic music universe. Re-joining Steve Miller, Boz appeared on the first two “Steve Miller Band” albums “Children And The Future,” and “Sailor.”

After being spotted by “Rolling Stone” publisher Jann Wenner, Scaggs landed a solo contract with Atlantic Records in 1968. His second album, “Boz Scaggs” was released the following year.

Boz album
Boz Scaggs was re-mixed and re-released in 1977. (Craig Allen photo)

Despite good reviews, his only Atlantic album, “Boz Scaggs,” which featured the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and guitarist Duanne Allman, had only moderate sales, as did follow-up albums on the Columbia label.

In 1976, Boz hooked up with session musicians who later formed “Toto,” and recorded the smash album “Silk Degrees.”

“Silk Degrees” reached #2 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S.,  and #1 in a number of countries around the world.

Jersey’s Favorite Hits: “Lowdown” (#3/1976)

and “Lido Shuffle” (#11/1977) came from this album.

Plus:”What Can I Say,” as well as the adult standard “We’re All Alone” (which was later recorded by Rita Coolidge and Jersey’s own Frankie Valli)

“Lowdown” sold over one million copies in the U.S!

A sellout world tour followed, but Scagg’s follow-up album “Down Two Then Left” (1977) was not the commercial success of “Silk Degrees.” Oops.

The 1980 album “Middle Man” gave us “Breakdown Dead Ahead” (#15/1980),

and “Jojo”(#17/1980).

Scaggs enjoyed two more hits in 1980-81: “Look What You’ve Done To Me” from the “Urban Cowboy Soundtrack, and “Miss Sun” from a Greatest Hits album (“Hits!” CD cover at the top of this article). Both songs went to #14 on the charts here in the U.S.

Then, Boz Scaggs took some time off. His next album, “Other Roads” came out in 1988!

Other Roads
“Other Roads” (Craig Allen photo)

Such a long hiatus slowed down his chart career dramatically! “Heart of Mine” in 1988, from “Other Roads” is Scaggs’ last Top 40 hit (#35/1988).

Scaggs continued to record and tour sporadically throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and was semi-retired from the music industry. He opened the San Francisco nightclub “Slim’s” in 1988.

Scaggs then took another hiatus, coming back with “Some Change” in 1994. He released a “blues” album “Come On Home,” and “My Time,” an anthology, in the late 1990s. His next album, “Dig,” got good reviews, but had the misfortune of being released on September 11, 2001!  In 2003, Scaggs released “But Beautiful,” a collection of jazz songs, that debuted at #1 on the jazz chart. In 2008, he released “Speak Low,” described in the liner notes as “a sort of progressive, experimental effort…”

Boz Scaggs released a DVD, and a live CD in 2004. Other releases have followed.

In 2008, Scaggs undertook an expanded tour across the US. In the summer of 2010, Scaggs began a tour with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald. The show included classic rock, soul/R&B songs from all three artists.

In his personal life, Boz Scaggs and his wife Dominique grow grapes in California, and have produced their own wine. Scaggs’ son, Austin, is a music journalist. Another son, Oscar, died of a drug overdose in 1998, at the age of 21.

For the latest Boz Scaggs happenings, check out his official website by clicking here!

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