Steve Miller Band

The Steve Miller Band are an American classic-rock band from San Francisco that released 14 studio albums on Capitol Records between 1968 and 1986. Guitarist and singer Steve Miller formed the band in 1966 with Boz Scaggs, who left after two albums for a solo career.

Members: Steve Miller (vocals, guitar, harmonica, synthesizer, keyboards), Curley Cooke (guitar, 1966-67), Tim Davis (drums, percussion, vibraphone, vocals, 1966-70), Rich Personett (bass, 1966), Lonnie Turner (bass, guitar, vocals, 1966-69, 1973-79), Jim Peterman (organ, piano, vocals, 1967-68), Boz Scaggs (guitar, vocals, 1967-68), Ben Sidran (piano, organ, keyboards, 1968-71), Bobby Winkelman (bass, guitar, backing vocals, 1969-71), Jack King (drums, guitar, 1970-72), Ross Valory (bass, vocals, 1970-71), David Denny (guitar, vocals, 1971, 1976-79), Gerald Johnson (bass, vocals, 1971-73), Dickie Thompson (organ, clavinet, 1971-74), Roger Alan Clark (drums, 1971-72), John King (drums, 1972-74), Les Dudek (guitar, dobro, 1975, 1986-93), Doug Clifford (drums, 1975), Gary Mallaber (drums, percussion, 1975-87), Greg Douglass (guitar, 1976-81), Byron Allred (keyboards, 1976-86), Norton Buffalo (harmonica, vocals, 1976-2009), Kenny Lee Lewis (guitar, bass, 1981-86, 1993-present), John Massaro (guitar, 1981-83)

Miller was born in Milwaukee, Wisc., on October 5, 1943, to a jazz-singing mother and a physician father, George (aka “Sonny”), a jazz buff who ran a home-based recording studio. The Miller’s were friends with guitar legend Les Paul and his partner, Mary Ford. Dr. Miller served as the best man at their 1949 wedding.

Steve took up guitar at age six under Paul’s encouragement. In 1950, the family moved to Dallas, Tex., where Dr. Miller housed sessions by T-Bone Walker, Charles Mingus, and Tal Farlow. Walker taught young Steve how to pick strings with his teeth.

In 1955, Miller entered St. Mark’s prep school for boy, where he formed The Marksmen, an early rock ‘n’ roll band that included his brother Buddy (on bass) and another singing guitarist, classmate William Scaggs.

In 1962, Miller enrolled at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he formed The Ardells with Scaggs and a young keyboardist, Ben Sidran. They split in 1964 when Miller went to Denmark to study literature and Scaggs fled to Sweden to busk as a blues performer.

Back in the states, Miller hit the blues scene in Chicago, where he jammed with Paul Butterfield, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Buddy Guy. He teamed with keyboardist Barry Goldberg in the Goldberg-Miller Blues Band, which issued the Epic single “The Mother Song.” They went to New York and performed the song on Hullabaloo but disbanded soon after when Miller returned to Texas. (Goldberg formed Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield.) 

In 1966, Miller headed to San Francisco, where he was struck by the vibe of the Haight-Ashbury music scene. He formed the Steve Miller Blues Band with guitarist James Cooke, bassist Lonnie Turner, drummer Tim Davis, and organist Jim Peterman. At the insistence of George Martin, they dropped “Blues” from the nameplate. They backed Chuck Berry on his 1967 Mercury release Live at Fillmore Auditorium. Soon after, they were joined by Miller’s Marksmen/Ardells bandmate, who now went by the name Boz Scaggs.

The Steve Miller Band played the June 1967 Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival, which also featured performances by Kaleidoscope, The Doors, Dionne Warwick, The 5th Dimension, The Loading Zone, and the Sons of Champlin. The following week, they played the Monterey Pop Festival, noted for uproarious sets by The Who, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Eric Burdon and the Animals. SMB played the second day of the event (Saturday the 17th) along with Al Kooper, Hugh Masekela, Janis Joplin, Laura Nyro, and Otis Redding.

Producer and band manager Harvey Kornspan took Miller’s group under his wing and brokered their deal with Capitol/EMI.


  • Children of the Future (1968)
  • Sailor (1968)
  • Brave New World (1969)
  • Your Saving Grace (1969)
  • Number 5 (1970)
  • Rock Love (1971)
  • Recall the Beginning … A Journey From Eden (1972)
  • The Joker (1973)
  • Fly Like an Eagle (1976)
  • Book of Dreams (1977)
  • Circle of Love (1981)
  • Abracadabra (1982)
  • Italian X Rays (1984)
  • Living in the 20th Century (1986)


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