Fly Famous Mockingbird

Originally Performed BySteve Miller Band
Original AlbumFly Like an Eagle (1976)
Music/LyricsSteve Miller, Steve McCarty
VocalsTrey (Phish); Page (Vida Blue)
HistorianDan Purcell (sausagemahoney)
Last Update2013-01-18


Steve Miller came up as a mostly generic San Francisco blues rocker -- a deeply unpsychedelic comtemporary of the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Jefferson Airplane. In the early 70s he had a bad car wreck and broke his neck. After a couple years off, he returned with a record called "The Joker," the title track of which became a fluke number-one single. Then he disappeared again. He spent the next three years in his studio meticulously crafting the Fly Like an Eagle LP, which updated his sound with pop moves and synthesizers and hit massively in the summer of 1976. Two of the record's three top-five singles were the chugging robo-boogie "Rock 'N Me" and the incoherent crime narrative "Take the Money and Run." Maybe you've heard them. The third big hit was the title track, whose long, ethereal, instantly recognizable synthesizer intro was genuinely startling at the time and quickly came to dominate classic rock radio (and for years after). (My first steady babysitter, Peggy Pinnell, identified it as her favorite song and even sang me the chorus.)

Page played "Fly Like an Eagle" at consecutive Vida Blue shows in July 2002, but the tune didn't really suit his vocal range and it was quickly dropped. So it wasn't a big shock that Trey took over vocal duties for the debut Phish performance during NYE 2012's golf-themed third set. I wouldn't score it two under par, especially since they omitted the intro, but like that entire show it was an awful lot of fun.

”Fly Like an Eagle” 12/31/12 New York, NY

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