Why is Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like An Eagle on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
Wherein I find my appetite for this slice of space blues.
Some stats & info about Steve Miller Band – Fly Like An Eagle
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? SF Bay Area Bands, Album Rock, Arena Rock, Rock, Rock Music, Blues Rock
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
- When was Fly Like An Eagle released? 1976
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #857 out of 1,000
Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like An Eagle on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.
What does Steve Miller Band’s Fly Like An Eagle mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
I grew up on Long Island, New York – and, yeah, we say on and not in for some reason – during an era where “classic rock” absolutely dominated on rock ‘n roll radio stations. Which – in a pre-Internet, pre-streaming, and even, shockingly for a spell in my early childhood, pre-Walkman-style portable devices that you could easily get a cassette tape into.
In fact, I’m so old that I can recall my older sister getting a little toy robot called 2-XL (why a toy robot had a name that’s akin to “double extra large” is something that I won’t be exploring here as an aside to an aside that’s supposed to get to the Steve Miller Band at some point) that you could actually plug an 8 track cartridge into!
Anyway, in listening to the radio a lot as a kid, it had a heavy influence on my early musical education. Long Island rock radio threw heavy doses of “1970s album rock” at its listeners from the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Paul McCartney and Wings, the Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, The Who, Aerosmith, and the Rolling Stones.
And the Steve Miller Band. I heard songs like “The Joker,” “Abracadabra,” and “Fly Like An Eagle” so often during the 1980s and early 1990s that while I ended up intellectually appreciating the ‘70s rock craftsmanship, the excellent vocals from Miller, and his outstanding guitar skills, I kind of hated the Steve Miller Band for some years.
A case of Long Island rock radio overkill if there ever was one.
I like All Music’s description of Fly Like an Eagle as the band’s “definitive slice of space blues” and appreciate that it notes that the sound does at times feel dated. But that’s the conundrum with “classic rock,” isn’t it? Classic doesn’t always equate to timeless, and timeless doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all that good!
In any event, given a lengthy break, I’ve come back around and for me Fly Like an Eagle the album is Steve Miller Band’s greatest achievement.
In revisiting “Fly Like An Eagle” – and listening to it closely versus hearing it for the 7,855th time out of junky car radio speakers on Jericho Turnpike circa 1987 – it’s both surprisingly trippy and with surprisingly delicate, eclectic, and subtle production for a rock album. Hearing it with fresh ears, it’s kind of an oddball rock song in some ways, really, but in a way that works for it.
I personally prefer the deep cut – though it should be noted that this is a rock-solid consistently strong album of 12 songs – “Serenade,” which has more bounce and rock n’ roll swing to it with crooning multi-track vocals of some sort.
Spotify has “Fly Like An Eagle” with about five million plays than “Take the Money and Run,” but man it still feels like I’ve heard the latter the most from this band on the radio over the years. I’d rather point focus therefore to the fun blues stomping rock of “Mercury Blues.”