My mom is 82 years old. And, according to most of her indexes, she might be considered healthy. Except for the tragic fact that she has been losing her memory. And, in place of a woman who during her prime might have been the eighth wonder in the world with her ability to talk you to exhaustion without you ever uttering a word. Sadly, that woman is being replaced by a scared and unusually quiet person. After my father left her, mom circled her wagons, so to speak, and raised two teenage boys into men. It was tough for her, but I have always admired her tenacity and focus during that time. Needless to say, Mom had a great eye for a bargain. To go shopping with her was to watch a master at work.
One day on our Christmas Break from our school routine, Mom decided we would go shopping, which meant we were going to Goodwill to look for dolls for her burgeoning doll collection, then to K-Mart or Airway depending on their sales and then to the local antique shop owned by a very nice gentleman who I always suspected was gay but really never cared much to ask him. To him, my brother and I were enigmas of the child world who knew how to behave properly in an antique store. As he got to know us, he would give us comic books or baseball cards for our collections. Well, on this particular day, while at Goodwill, I discovered a rare advertising doll from the early Seventies known as Budman, who was designed for Budweiser advertisements. Mom was so excited about this 25-cent find that she promised to buy an album for me.
When we arrived at K-Mart, we walked in to find that the store had bins and bins of recently released albums on sale for $3.99 or LESS! Right away, I knew that my twenty dollars in Christmas money could get me four albums, though I really only wanted one album. That album was the Steve Miller Band’s now-classic Fly like an Eagle. By the way, mom convinced me to buy Wedding Present by Cheech & Chong with her money, because, and I quote, “These guys will make us laugh.” Mom was a secret Cheech & Chong fan.
In retrospect, Fly like an Eagle became something of a landmark album, in that its sonic sound and aural production work was incorporated by every musician in the industry, except maybe for those early punk albums. From the opening futuristic swooshes of that synthesizer in the album opener “Space Intro”, you knew this album was going to claim new sounds in recording. That first song then segued into arguably the band’s signature hit “Fly like an Eagle”, we knew we were on a much different musical trip than I had experienced in my first 13 years of life.
Every song, whether a Steve Miller original or a cover song, was impeccably played and produced. The crisp sounds my speakers were throwing out my little speakers at the time were still a revelation. From this point onward, the production work of the music I listened to was recorded in this manner. From Fleetwood Mac to Steely Dan all employed similar techniques uncovered by the Steve Miller Band on this album.
As I alluded to earlier, every song on this album is a gem. But, the songs that were released were mega-hits. This album set the tone for the number of singles that could be released. In addition to the aforementioned title track, other hit songs from this album are “Take the Money and Run” (I know they ran into a great big hassle, as opposed to the “great big asshole” I thought I heard on AM radio after church one day.) and “Rock ‘N Me”, while “Dance, Dance, Dance” was a minor hit as well.
This album is a perfect mix of Seventies AOR rock, smooth state-of-the-art rock music production work and laidback songwriting and playing. The album represents the pinnacle of a sound, all the while the album stands on its own as a fantastic album. Go back and give it another spin and rediscover THE sound of the mid-Seventies, because it was created by the Steve Miller Band during the recording of today’s Forgotten Classic, Fly like an Eagle.