On April 14, The Steve Miller Band kicks off a North American tour joined by Peter Frampton. During that tour, the band will celebrate 50 years of music. A little over a month later, on May 18, the albums that formed the enduring SMB legacy will be reissued in a new vinyl box set. Complete Albums Volume 1 (1968-1976), from Capitol/UMe, presents the SMB’s first nine albums remastered on 180-gram vinyl, including the long out-of-print LPs Rock Love and Recall the Beginning…Journey to Eden. Each album will also be made available individually to general retail on the same date, while Universal Music’s webstore UDiscoverMusic.com will offer colored vinyl editions.
The box contains:
- Children of the Future (1968)
- Sailor (1968)
- Brave New World (1969)
- Your Saving Grace (1969)
- Number 5 (1970)
- Rock Love (1971)
- Recall the Beginning…Journey to Eden (1972)
- The Joker (1973)
- Fly Like an Eagle (1976)
Though the blues-rock guitarist from Wisconsin rose through the ranks in the fertile Bay Area psychedelic rock scene, Miller’s first album was recorded by producer Glyn Johns at London’s Olympic Studios. Children of the Future nonetheless reflected that scene, opening with a side-long suite bookended by its title song. Sailor continued the lysergic blues-rock sound of Children, but Brave New World marked a stylistic shift in part owing to the departure of original members Boz Scaggs and Jim Peterman. Though Miller’s guitar was more blazing than ever, song structures were tighter and the style a bit more accessible to a pop audience. Paul McCartney even guested on the LP. The slimmed-down trio lineup of Miller, Tim Davis, and Lonnie Turner next recorded Your Saving Grace, a more down-to-earth collection of songs than Brave New World that, despite strong material, lacked a breakthrough single to propel the Steve Miller Band into the stratosphere. In 1970, Miller parted ways with Glyn Johns (who had produced every one of the band’s albums to that point) as well as with Lonnie Turner. Bobby Winkelman stepped in on bass, and Miller and Tim Davis headed to Charlie McCoy’s studio in Nashville for the SMB’s most bluesy set yet, Number 5. The eclectic album featured “Nashville Cat” McCoy on harmonica, and appearances by country-and-western fiddle and even mariachi brass. Lonnie Turner and Boz Scaggs both contributed as guests to the LP, along with frequent SMB pals Nicky Hopkins and Ben Sidran.
In 1971, Steve Miller suffered a car accident. With no new material on the horizon, Capitol issued Rock Love, a curious live/studio hybrid featuring Miller, Winkelman, and members of the latter’s band Frumious Bandersnatch. It was followed by the other “lost” album of Miller’s career, 1972’s Recall the Beginning…A Journey to Eden. Both albums didn’t receive legitimate CD releases until 2017 (and even then, only in Japan). The same year, a career-to-date Anthology (not included in the new box set) capped off this period of the artist’s career. In 1973, the newly reconstituted Steve Miller Band released The Joker, and solidified its place in classic rock and pop history with the title track, an international chart-topper. Its follow-up, Fly Like an Eagle (with another line-up), didn’t arrive until 1976, but it was worth the wait, yielding three hits with the atmospheric title track, “Rock ‘n Me,” and “Take the Money and Run.”
That’s where this first box set ends. All told, Miller has released 18 studio albums (one credited solo, the rest to the band). He remained on Capitol through 1988, ending his tenure with that lone solo release: R&B covers album Born 2 B Blue. The Steve Miller Band’s most recent album is 2011’s Let Your Hair Down on the Roadrunner label.