Monday, May 9, 2016

40 Year Itch : Serenade From The Stars

Steve Miller Band : Serenade

    What Fly Like an Eagle lacks in originality, it makes up for in state of the art studio wizardry. I mean, sure, the title cut borrows its guitar hook from a seven year old song Steve Miller recorded with Paul McCartney called " My Dark Hour". ( Just go 14 seconds deep into the video below)

   Also you can actually sing the lyrics of "Sweet Home Alabama" to "Take the Money and Run". And -point taken- those lyrics are clunky.("Billy Mack is a detective down in Texas /You know he knows just exactly what the facts is")

  And even Miller had acknowledged that the #1 US hit from the album, "Rock'n Me", owes a tip of the hat to Free's "All Right Now".

  That said, Fly Like An Eagle just sounded damn good on the stereo in 1976. One of my dad's friends, an architect, cranked it up for us at his house and the "Space Intro" filled the great room in a way that made us feel we were about to lift off ! When it flows into "Fly Like an Eagle" you can understand why four million people bought the album.

    Three years in the making and inspired by Pink Floyd, Miller and engineer Jim Gaines spent 14 to 20 hour days at Kaye Smith Studios in Seattle experimenting with synthesizers, vocal effects and transitions. Then they recorded the rest of the album at CBS Studios in San Francisco, Miller's old stomping grounds. His band had actually come up with enough songs for a double album,  but Miller held back the rest of the tunes ( including "Jet Airliner" and "Jungle Love") for 1977's Book of Dreams. That worked in Miller's favor financially. Both album sold four million copies. But artistically, Fly Like an Eagle peters out two tracks into the B side, leaving a poor aftertaste. 

    Still, Fly Like an Eagle provided "lift off" for the Steve Miller Band, who became one of the biggest rock acts in the world.


  1. I was one of the 4 million who bought "Fly Like An Eagle" in 1976 and loved it. A great advert for stereo. During my first USA visit, friends took me to Red Rocks in Denver to see the Steve Miller Band live and I got to bounce around and sing along to the dodgy lyrics of "Take The Money And Run". As the young people say - awesome. :)

  2. Of course, Steve Miller stole the riffs from a few other Songs but I loved this record in These days. It is epic and Serenade is still played in my house.