Top 10 Steve Miller Band Albums

Steve Miller Band Albums

Photo: Craig ONeal, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Our Top 10 Steve Miller Band Albums list looks back at the career of a rock band with its origin in blues and psychedelia but celebrated their greatest success as a pop rock band in the 70s. The story of the Steve Miller Band is really split into two camps. There is the pre-Joker album blues & psychedelic rock Steve Miller Band and then the Joker album & beyond pop rock Steve Miller Band. And of course there is the Steve Miller Band of 1976 to 1982 that scored  huge hits on the radio and became one of the most popular bands of all time. Our Steve Miller Band albums list will attempt to present both sides of the group while picking their 10 best albums. The Steve Miller Band released eighteen studio albums, so eight of them will be missing from this list. Some really good ones like Circle of Love, Rock love, Number 5, Italian x-Rays, Recall The Beginning, Born 2B Blue, and the last two ones Bingo and Let Your Hair Down. Many Steve Miller Band fans will like some of these more than the ones on the top 10 list. There are  always the old fans that will like nothing that was commercially successful and will always argue that the band’s early stuff is the best, but that’s just wrong. Their early stuff was great, but their mid-70s material was just phenomenal. Millions and millions of fans who brought those albums could not all be wrong. However, our mission is to present a wide variety of great albums to turn people on to a band they might not know much about. So here is our picks for the top 10 Steve Miller Band Albums.

# 10 – Abracadabra

We open up our top 10 Steve Miller Band albums list with their 1982 release Abracadabra. This was the fourth Steve Miller Band album to reach one of the top  three spots on the Billboard top 200 albums list. It’s also the band’s last album to go platinum in sales. In other words it’s the band’s final big time selling commercial record. The big hit on the record was the title track “Abracadabra.” While the sales may had ended and the hits may have dried out after the release of Abracadabra, the band continued to release great records and hit the road performing in front of millions and millions of fans for many more years.

# 9 – Your Saving Grace

The Steve Miller Band album Your Saving Grace what’s the group’s fourth album release. The album was released in November of 1969. There were no singles released from the album, but the record broke into the top 40 position on the Billboard top 200. This is a great rock and roll album filled with blues and psychedelia featuring The great Nicky Hopkins on piano, Lonnie Turner on bass, Tim Davis on drums and of course the great Steve Miller on guitar and vocals. Standout tracks including the Steve Miller Band penned song “Little Girl, Baby’s House,” and a great version of the traditional song “Motherless Children.”

# 8 – Brave New World

Brave New World was the Steve Miller Band’s third album. It was released on June 16th 1969. It is an album made in heavy blues rock and psychedelia and remains a fan favorite. The album featured an appearance by Paul McCartney on the song “My Dark Hour.” Paul McCartney was credited as Paul Ramon on the record. Standout tracks on the album included the title track My Brave World, Celebration Song, the great track and soon-to-be Steve Miller Band standard “Space Cowboy,” and of course “My Dark Hour,” which was also released as the album’s single.

# 7 – The Joker

The Joker album stands as the Steve Miller Band’s commercial breakthrough album. The success of the album was fueled by the hit single “The Joker.”  The song “The Joker,” was a huge hit for the Steve Miller Band. The song hit number one in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100. And also hit number one in the United Kingdom as well as New Zealand and the Netherlands. The album itself would also become one of the biggest selling albums of the band’s career and the highest charting album they ever released tied with Book of Dreams at number two on the US Billboard top 200. The band at the time consisted of Steve Miller on guitar, Gerald Johnson on base, Dick Thompson on organ and John King on drums. There were four singles released from the record but none of them came close to the success of “The Joker.” All in all, a great album that was very continuous in it’s pop rock and blues sound

# 6 –Living in the 20th Century

The Steve Miller Band was looking to capture the success that they had few years earlier in the late 70s and early 80s with their Living In The 20th Century album. While the record didn’t come close to that commercial success, this was a great rock and roll album. It fared much better than the previous 1984 album Italian X-rays as far as commercial success. Some of the standout tracks on this great record were the title track “Living In The 20th Century,” and a very cool song “I Want To Make The World Turn Around.” There’s a very heavy blues presence on this one as it featured some great blues players such as James Cotton, Norton Buffalo, Lonnie Turner an ex Allman Brothers Band guitarist Les Dudek. It was in many ways a return to the band’s early sound.

# 5 – Children of the Future

And speaking of the band’s early sound, at the halfway point on our Steve Miller Band albums list we present the phenomenal record Children of the Future. The album was released in the spring of 1968. It stands as the band’s debut album. This is a very heavy blues psychedelic rock record that echoed the sounds of the times. Appearing on the album as a member of the band was a very young Boz Scaggs on guitar and lead vocals along with Steve Miller, Lonnie Turner, Jim Peterman and Tim Davis. From the album’s opening “Children of the Future,” to the final song on the record “Keys To The Highway,” this is simply one of the band’s greatest albums ever released as a total experience in the style of rock and roll blues psychedelic rock that was so popular during this time period in the late 1960s.

# 4 – Wide River

Wide River stands as probably the most underrated Steve Miller Band album. In many ways this was their comeback record. An attempt at a return to the sound of the Fly Like an Eagle, Book Of Dream days. However the music world had dramatically changed in 1993 with grunge music completely dominating the music scene. So the Wide River album sort of got lost. Even though the band toured to promote it and their old-time fans came out to celebrate it, the album was still not a hit. However if you don’t believe us just put it on and play the songs “Wide River, Midnight Train, Blue Eyes, Perfect World, Walk Like a Lady,” and so many others. A truly great Steve Miller Band album that we highly recommend. Sadly, it would also be the band’s last album for another 17 years until they released Bingo in 2010.

# 3 – Sailor

The legendary Steve Miller Band album Sailor was released in 1968. It was the band’s second album. The band began to get noticed with the release of this great record. It hits number 24 on the US Billboard Top 200 albums charts. The album would feature some soon-to-be legendary Steve Miller Band songs such as “Living in the USA,” “Quicksilver Girl,” and “Gangster of Love.” It was the last album to feature Boz Scaggs who left the band to begin a solo career and eight years later would become one of the biggest pop stars in the world with his Silk Degrees album.

# 2 – Book of Dreams

In our top two spots on our Steve Miller Band albums list are the two albums that turned the Steve Miller Band into one of the most famous rock bands of all time in classic rock history. Anyone who was alive during this time can easily remember how big these albums were. Book of Dreams was the follow-up album to Fly Like an Eagle. It was released one year after Fly Like an Eagle was released in 1976 Book of Dreams was issued in May of 1977. Both albums had pretty much been recorded at the same time or at least the basic tracks were. It’s very easy to hear the musical similarities between both albums.

The biggest similarity between both albums  from a commercial standpoint, were the amount of hits each album spawned, and the chart success the albums themselves had. Book of Dreams actually charted one spot higher then Fly Like an Eagle peaking at number two on the Billboard top 200 albums list. It was the band’s highest-charting album tied with The Joker. Fly Like an Eagle peaked at number three. However the Fly Like An Eagle album outsold The Book of Dreams album. The Fly Like An Eagle album sold 4 million copies while Book of Dreams sold three million copies just in the United States alone.

The three big singles released from the Book of Dreams album were “Jet Airliner,” released in April 1977, a month before the album was released, “Jungle Love,” released in August of 1977 and “Swingtown,” released in October of 1977. Only the song “Jet Airliner,” was a top ten hit peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. “Jungle Love,” and “Swingtown,” though both broke the Billboard Top 40.

# 1 – Fly Like An Eagle

We close out our top 10 Steve Miller Band albums list with the record that changed everything for the Steve Miller Band.  The Steve Miller Band album Fly Like an Eagle was one of the biggest albums of the decade of the 1970s. It was the album that opened the eyes and ears of millions of people to the sounds of the Steve Miller Band. With the exception of the hit single “The Joker,” in 1973 many people had never heard of the Steve Miller Band before. So many fans were unaware of the great albums the band had released in the late 60s and early 70s.

Four singles were released from the album Fly Like an Eagle. The album’s first single “Take the Money and Run,” was a big hit peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, it was the second single “Rock’n Me,” that soared like an eagle and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 making it the second of three number one singles the band celebrated throughout their career including the songs “The Joker,” and 1982’s “Abracadabra.”

Top 10 Steve Miller Band Albums article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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