A Bit Like You And Me Radio

June 06, 2013

The Steve Miller Band - My Dark Hour (1969)

Although most of their hits came in the ‘70s and ‘80s (“The Joker,” 1973; “Take the Money and Run,” “Rock’n Me,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” 1976; and “Abracadabra,” 1982), this band has actually been around since 1967. Originally known as The Steve Miller Blues Band when they were put together in San Francisco, the band was initially a blues outfit that dabbled with psychedelic rock and hard rock. As The Steve Miller Blues Band, they had opened for Chuck Berry at the Fillmore West and performed at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. For the band’s first seven albums, they used a hard rock and blues style that didn’t garner them much success. It wasn’t until their 1973 album, The Joker (now having its 40th anniversary) that the band decided to create the mainstream sound which they’re now remembered for. With nearly forty people having been members of this band, it’s easy to imagine how often the band’s lineup has altered over the years. Only Steve Miller himself has been constant throughout their long history and he continues to perform to this day.

On Friday May 9, 1969, Steve Miller walked into a studio at Olympic Sound Studios in London, which he assumed was empty. When he noticed Paul McCartney sitting inside, he asked if the room was free. McCartney, who had just had a big fight with all of the other members of The Beatles over whether or not they would hire Allen Klein as their manager, replied, “Well, it looks like it is now, mate.” Wanting to get some of his frustrations out, McCartney asked Miller if he could accompany him by playing the drums. Naturally, Miller obliged and he (Miller) began to play the song heard below. What resulted was a collaboration composed entirely of Steve Miller and Paul McCartney. McCartney played bass, drums, and sang backup, whereas Miller performed the lead vocals and played all of the other instruments. The heavy drumming emphasis is attributed to McCartney releasing his stress. When it came time for crediting him, he chose to use the pseudonym "Paul Ramon," a name which had had previously used while touring Scotland with The Beatles in 1960, when they were still going by the name The Silver Beetles.

The song was released as a single, but failed to chart. It also appeared on the June 1969 album, Brave New World. Seven years after this song was released, Miller would revive its primary guitar riff for his monumental 1976 hit, “Fly Like an Eagle.” Considering McCartney went uncredited for the song it was originally used in, I wonder what the chances are that he contributed to this now-famous riff.

album art

The Steve Miller Band - My Dark Hour (1969)

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Lyrics:

My dark hour
My dark hour
You know it's drivin' me wild

Well, well, I went to see the doctor
And I had my fortune read
And you know the doctor told me
“Son, you better stay in bed”

Who's that comin’ down that road?
Looks like he's carryin’ a heavy load
What is that word that he’s startin’ to say?
“Want to come with me on my way?”

My dark hour
A Mother Nature's child
My dark hour
Oh, it's drivin’ me wild

Well, I went to see the doctor
Just to have my fortune read
Well, well, well, well, well, the doctor told me
“Son, you better stay in bed”

So, do you think these sinners will fall?
Or do you think they'll survive us all?
Well, well, well, well, now, down this road
Won’t you help me carry my load?

My dark hour
A Mother Nature's child
My dark hour
Oh, it's drivin’ me wild

Mother Nature’s child
Yeah!

Yeah!

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