Saturday, December 11, 1976

Steve Miller Band “Fly Like an Eagle” charted

Fly Like an Eagle

Steve Miller Band

Writer(s): Steve Miller (see lyrics here)

Released: August 13, 1976

First Charted: December 11, 1976

Peak: 2 BB, 3 CB, 5 GR, 5 HR, 4 RR, 38 AC, 1 CL, 2 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 14.8 video, 146.05 streaming

Awards (Steve Miller Band):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Seal):

About the Song:

The Steve Miller Band was formed by its namesake I 1966 in San Francisco. They appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 and released their first album, Children of the Future, in 1968. Their real breakthrough, however, came in 1973 with The Joker, which reached #2 on the album chart and went platinum. It sparked the #1 tile cut which went five times platinum.

It set them up for the even more successful Fly Like an Eagle in 1976. It reached #3 and sold four million copies. Lead single “Take the Money and Run” hit #11 and “Rock ‘N’ Me” topped the charts. The album, however, is “dominated by its title track, all bubbling synths and breathy boys, while everything percolates furiously beneath.” DT “Fly Like an Eagle” just missed out on the top spot, peaking at #2, but was the album’s only gold single.

Miller said, “Originally, I wrote the lyrics as a political statement. The words were from the perspective of Native Americans and the despair they felt, especially after the Wounded Knee standoff with law enforcement earlier that year.” MM He continued, saying, “As I sang the song on the road, I came up with new lyrics and kept the ones I like best. At some point on tour, I broadened the lyrics’ focus, replacing ‘reservation’ with ‘revolution.’ I wanted to make the song’s message more universal.” MM

When it came time to record the song, he lifted some of the guitar work from his own song “My Dark Hour.” He still thought “it needed more dimension and texture” MM so he picked up a cheap synthesizer. He created effects “that felt like an eagle taking off and flying.” MM He later “added the spacey overdubs…[and] the song sounded just right.” MM On the album, the minute-long instrumental is listed as a separate song, “Space Intro.” The two are often played together on the radio. SF

In 1996, Seal covered the song for the movie Space Jam and reached #10 on the Billboard Hot 100.


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First posted 10/2/2023.

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