The Steve Miller Band has been going strong for almost 50 years now, and if you hear them live today, they’re better than ever. That said, most of Steve’s hits came in the 70s, but they’re still played heavily today and just about everyone knows them from countless plays on the radio.
It’s very easy to forget that even though his songs were somewhat Top 40 in nature, for the most part they were really well-made, especially give the time. Today we’ll listen to the isolated vocal tracks from one of his most famous hits – “Fly Like An Eagle.” The song was covered a number of times by artists like Seal and even The Neville Brothers, and has been used on commercials by the US Postal Service.
Here’s what to listen for (it begins at 0:15):
1. The vocal has a nice medium-long delayed reverb that’s pretty dark so it blends into the track very easily.
2. The vocal is doubled very closely, which was somewhat unusual for a recording in 1977, since the production concept of “tight” was much normally looser than this.
3. The vocals are also compressed very heavily, and although you don’t hear it in the final mix, you can clearly hear compression artifacts when it stands alone.
4. One thing about Steve Miller records is that they’re very disciplined when it comes to the parts. There are very few ad libs, and “Fly Like An Eagle” is a great example, as every note is in precisely the right place with nothing more added.
5. Another thing to notice is that there’s not a lot of leakage or noise. You can hear some faintly in the distance, as well as the inevitable tape hiss of the time, but the disciple extends to recording as well.
“Fly Like An Eagle” is actually a very modern production, even though it was made way back in 1977. Except for the slick automation that adorns all mixes of today, this is a song that still holds up very well.