Writer: Steve Miller
Producer: Steve Miller
Recorded: Fall 1975 at CBS Studios in San Francisco
Released: May 1976
|Players:||Steve Miller — vocals, guitar, synthesizer
Lonnie Turner — bass
Gary Mallaber — drums
Joaquim Young — organ
|Album:||Fly Like An Eagle (Capital Records)|
Starting in 1966, the Steve Miller Band went through several lineups before the singer-guitarist recruited Lonnie Turner and Gary Mallaber for the Fly Like An Eagle sessions.
The Fly Like An Eagle album was Steve Miller's first for his own Sailor Records label, from which he licensed the recording to Capitol Records in the U.S. and Mercury in Europe.
Fly Like An Eagle was Miller's first album in three years, following the success of 1973's The Joker.
In the liner notes of his box set, Miller wrote that he had a difficult time with the album's title track: “I had recorded ('Fly Like An Eagle') three previous times and wasn't satisfied until this cut. Then I started working on it, inch by inch, adding synthesizer parts and the vocals until I finally put it all together.”
On the album, the song is preceded by a synthesizer piece titled “Space Intro” that Miller cooked up while goofing around: “I had a simple synthesizer. In fact, I asked my friend Banana for an idiot-proof keyboard, one no self-respecting musician would ever use. He knew just what I needed, and I took it home that afternoon and built 'Space Intro' for 'Fly Like An Eagle.'”
Miller noted that besides being a hit in its own right, the song has had quite an afterlife: “It's been sampled by more than a hundred rap groups, but only the Neville Brothers and the Steve Miller Band play this song live. It is the center of our concert performance.”
The third single from the album, “Fly Like An Eagle” peaked at Number Two on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1977. It was kept out of the top spot by Barbra Streisand's “Evergreen.”
The Fly Like An Eagle album peaked at Number Three on the Billboard 200, spending 97 consecutive weeks on the chart.
Having sold well over four million copies, it's also Miller's best-selling studio album, and his second-biggest seller behind his 1978 Greatest Hits 1974-1978 collection.
Fly Like An Eagle was also Miller's first British success, hitting Number 11 on the pop chart there.