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Today in Music History – 1943 – Happy Birthday Steve Miller!

Steve MillerBorn on this day in 1943, was Steve  Miller aka .”The Gangster of Love”. I became a Steve Miller fan with his second album Sailor and followed his career on vinyl until the album six Rock Love which was released in 1971. I think I had The Joker on 8-track! After that, I followed his career on the radio, until his 2010 and 2011 releases Bingo and Let Your Hair Down, which are both really fine albums! From Steve’s Press Release Biography

Born October 5, 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Steve Miller grew up in a musical family. His mother, Bertha, was a gifted vocalist and his father, Dr. George (Sonny) Miller, was an amateur tape recordist. Steve’s uncle Dale Miller gave his four year-old nephew a guitar. His father’s friend, guitarist Les Paul, taught the young boy a few chords and his father secretly recorded the exchange.   “Steve, you’re really going to go places,” Les Paul told him, after listening to the boy play and sing.   The family moved to Dallas, Texas when Steve was seven years old, where his father recorded a procession of visiting musicians in their living room; Tal Farlow, Red Norvo. Steve was allowed to stay home from school the day T-Bone Walker came to play for one of his parents’ parties and he remembers to this day the flesh-colored Cadillac convertible with the leopard-print seats in which the bluesman arrived. Walker showed the young guitarist how to play single-line solos……   —–After falling just short of graduating in his senior year, Miller was drawn to the blues scene of Chicago, where he met Howlin’ Wolf playing in nightclubs and shared the bandstand with Muddy Waters. His own Goldberg Miller Blues Band took over for the pioneering Paul Butterfield Blues Band at Big John’s, where the college crowd met the blues on the North Side. The band signed with Epic Records and went to New York to promote the single, “The Mother Song,” appearing on TV’s “Hullabaloo” with the Supremes and the Four Tops. After finishing out the year in an extended run at a Manhattan nightclub, Miller…….

How cool is that learning guitar from Les Paul and T-Bone Walker! Here’s a video I found at YouTube of “The Mother Song”

  Brave New WorldAt the top of my list of favorite Steve Miller albums just may be Brave New World, it definitely was back in the day. Here’s another one of those tidbits that I may have known and if I did after about forty years I certainly have forgotten it!!

The next album, “Brave New World,” featured Miller as “Space Cowboy.” Miller took the tapes of the third album to London to finish mixing with Glyn Johns and wound up tagging along to watch his co-producer record vocal overdubs with Paul McCartney and John Lennon on “Get Back” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” at Olympic Studios. The next night, the Beatles were supposed to record again, but Lennon and Ringo Starr never showed. After George Harrison left, Miller showed McCartney a new song of his and the two spent the rest of the evening recording the piece, “My Dark Hour.” (Years later, the pair would collaborate again in the studio when Miller played and sang with McCartney on the 1997 album, “Flaming Pie.”)

So “Happy Birthday, Steve” and keep on rockin’ and making your great music!!

  P.S. Before I read about “My Dark Hour” This video for ‘Further on Up the Road” was the one I was going to use in this post! The video features: Randy Hansen, Curtis Salgado, and Sonny Charles at the 2012 Portland Waterfront Blues Festival.