Wednesday, October 23, 2019

"I Want to Make the World Turn Around" by Steve Miller Band

Song#:  2930
Date:  11/15/1986
Debut:  98
Peak:  97
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  It had been two years since Miller released his synth-heavy experimental album Italian X-Rays. That LP was not well-received and it became one of Miller's worst performing albums reaching only #106. That was in sharp contrast to his previous album Abracadabra, which was a #3 platinum hit. For his next effort, Miller decided to chuck the modern sounds and get back to blues-influenced rock that made him famous. Living in the 20th Century would feature five self-penned tracks along with several blues covers. Rock radio had ignored all the songs from Italian X-Rays, but when this first single was issued out, it was welcomed with arms wide open. The tune hit the top of the Rock chart and stayed there for a six-week run. That seemed to bode well for success on the Pop chart, but the song couldn't even get a foothold. It spent a very minor three weeks near the bottom of the chart. No other songs from the album would reach any chart. Still, this song's success at Rock helped sell some albums and it peaked at #65. Not great, but much better than his previous disc. Miller would release a solo billed covers album in '88 titled Born 2 B Blue. It generated the #10 Rock track "Ya Ya," but the LP didn't sell well and stopped at #108. It was his last LP for his home label of Capitol, with whom he had been with since 1968. Miller would have one more song reach the Pop and Rock charts. In 1993, the title track from his album Wild River would get to #7 at Rock and #64 Pop. He has only released two albums since then. In 2016, Miller was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

ReduxReview:  This atmospheric track was certainly better than anything off of Italian X-Rays, but it wasn't necessarily the most pop-radio friendly tune. It had a bit of a Pink Floyd-ish feel to it and almost sounded like something from a concept album. Rock radio certainly jumped on it, but I'm not surprised that it was ignored at Pop. This track was just too subtle to compete with the more forceful, hooky dance-pop, rock, and R&B jams crowding the airwaves and MTV. Still, it could be considered a bit of a comeback after the disastrous Italian X-Rays.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  On the back cover of this album, Miller had printed "Dedicated to the loving memory of Jimmy Reed." Reed was an influential blues musician and songwriter who had success in late 50s and early 60s when he would score ten R&B Top 10s. Several of his hits like "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby," "Big Boss Man," and "Bright Lights, Big City" would be covered by many artists including The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Animals, Elvis Presley, and The Grateful Dead. Miller and his band recorded Reed's "You're So Fine" for their album Sailor (1968). Having been influenced by Reed, Miller decided to record four of Reed's tunes, three of which were written by Reed, for the Living in the 20th Century album. Reed had passed away in 1976 at the age of 50, but his influence reached far beyond that. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.


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