Documenting the exciting period when the Steve Miller Band ascended to playing arenas, and professionally recorded in Landover, MD, “Live! Breaking Ground: August 3, 1977” captures a 17-song concert staged in support of the blockbuster albums “Fly Like an Eagle” and “Book of Dreams.”
In the summer of 1977, Steve Miller was riding the crest of his fame. His just-issued album, “Book of Dreams,” was well on its way to becoming the third biggest-selling album of the year, driven by a trio of Top 10 hits, culminating with “Jet Airliner.” By any measure, he was a mainstream pop star ready to own the moment.
As the disco era was taking off and punk was bubbling up from the underground, Steve Miller was in his mid-30s, a time when many rock guitarists from the ‘60s were struggling to stay relevant. Yet instead of fading away, Miller enjoyed his greatest success with back-to-back albums, “Fly Like an Eagle” (1976) and “Book of Dreams” (1977), that sold more than 7 million copies combined. In 1978, his “Greatest Hits 1974-78,” with 13 of its 14 tracks drawn from those two albums, went on to sell a whopping 14 million copies.
The Steve Miller Band (SMB) has acted as a magnet for first-rate talent for more than five decades. While the namesake vocalist-guitarist has remained the focal point, many of his collaborators claim impressive resumes of their own. Here are 11 musicians — members and guests alike — whose histories seem to establish six degrees of separation with the broader music community.
At the 1977 concert documented on “Live! Breaking Ground,” Steve Miller took the stage as a hit machine who also had a deep catalog of songs from which to draw, stretching back a decade. Here’s a look at his career-spanning set on Aug. 3, 1977, in Landover, Md.
The cover of the Steve Miller Band’s “Greatest Hits 1974-78” — an illustration of a horse with a fiery mane and sparkling eye against a cool-blue backdrop — is burned in the minds of generations whose familiarity with the group’s music came by way of the album. Though featuring songs from just three of the band’s 11 records released at the time, the 14-times-platinum set represents the artist about as well as any studio LP. Here are 10 other mega-selling greatest-hits collections that performed similar roles and made lasting connections.