Craig Allen’s Fun Facts: “Fly Like An Eagle” by Steve Miller
Steve Miller formed his first band while he was still in high school...and has been involved in music ever since!
After college, Miller moved his love for music to San Francisco, and formed the band that features his name. Since the late 1960's, the lineup has changed many times...
Some "Fun Facts" about the band, and our spotlight song:
The Steve Miller Band is often thought of as a "jam" band when they play LIVE in concert...I'll have a great "jam" example in just a bit!
Steve Miller explains: "My Jazz and Blues influence is what started us as a jam band originally."
Miller adds: "Fly Like An Eagle is always about 12 minutes long (in concert). We have always built our recordings so they have room for spontaneity."
On the 1976 album, the song starts with a 1:14 instrumental section (intro) appropriately called "Space Intro."
This actually makes the song two separate tracks...
On some "Greatest Hits" compilations, the intro and "Fly" show up as one continuous song...on others, its divided. Some radio stations play "Fly Like An Eagle" with the Space Intro...many do not.
In any event, "Fly Like An Eagle" (in either form) went all the way to #2 on the Hot 100 chart in 1976!
And, the "Fun Facts" just keep..."flying!"
The "Fly Like An Eagle" guitar work is practically identical to an earlier Steve Miller song...
"My Dark Hour" (above). You'll hear it almost...immediately!
Steve Miller picked up the synthesizer used for the "Space Intro" at a San Francisco music store... The story is that it was "the trashiest synthesizer in the store!" So, it was a steal...at $190.00.
You might remember that the U.S. Postal Service used the song in some of their commercials a few years ago. It's a natural, as the EAGLE is their logo!
The recording artist "Seal" did his won cover version of this classic...and he included some lyrics from his own (earlier) 1990's hit "Crazy."
Part of the soundtrack for the movie "Space Jam," Seal's "Fly Like An Eagle" was a #10 hit in 1996!
Back to Steve Miller-proper...
On a personal note, I saw the Steve Miller Band live in concert in 1988, at Rider College (now Rider University).
The band JAMMED!
To once again quote the man at the top of the musical bill: "its much more interesting to see a musician be spontaneous than it is to see someone perform perfectly something they do note for note" at every show.
And, Steve's "Jazz and Blues" background was on full display.
Steve had Dave Koz, from the world of "Smooth Jazz" with him...they played a fair number of songs that didn't exactly "rock."
And...wait for it...
The students booed until the Steve Miller Band played their radio HITS...like "Fly Like An Eagle."
Enlightened? Not musically. Sorry.
Oh, did I mention that Steve Miller is a fellow "Badger"?
Like your author, Steve Miller holds a college degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison!!
And, yes, I (attended and) graduated quite a few years after the guy in the nj1015.com musical spotlight.....