Steve Miller Band – Who Do You Love?

“This is simple and it’s true…there’s a shining light all around you”

Not to be confused with the song of the same name by Bo Diddley, this is a beautiful acoustic track and blues pop confection from the Steve Miller Band. Released on the high-tech-for-the-time “Italian X Rays” in 1984 on Capitol Records, the song was co written by Steve Miller and longtime band member Tim Davis.

The Steve Miller Band has gone through many incarnations, with the one constant being Miller himself. He is a consummate musician, raised in Texas and later Chicago, steeped in the blues with the chops to match. Over the course of a career starting with his debut album “Children of the Future” in 1968, The Steve Miller Band has brought their blues based music to a variety of music genres. Miller started the group in Chicago but soon migrated west to the burgeoning psychedelic scene in San Francisco. The group were soon signed to a longterm record contract, but mostly based on their geographic location. Several albums were released and the band developed a cult following, but that all changed with the 1973 release “The Joker”. The tone of that album had Miller developing a blues based pop just right for the 1970s radio dial. The next several albums were hits filled affairs, culminating in the 1978 release “Greatest Hits”. That package has gone on to sell over 13 million copies and is one of the best selling albums of all time.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Steve Miller continued to release amibitious projects based in new wave, blues, and jazz. The release in question, “Italian X Rays”, is a blues based release like most of his other albums, but with a definte techno slant. Miller has always been an innovator in placing synths and special effects into his music with great gusto, like in the masterpiece “Fly Like An Eagle”, even making the bold move of making those effects work in a live setting. Most would say that comes from his true Chicago blues background of making the stage not a self indulgent place, but one built for the audiences enjoyment. “Who Do You Love?” combines the best of both worlds. While you can hear where the production aspect is enhancing the song, it never overpowers it. The vocal and acoustic guitar hook are ever present.

In recent years, Miller has chosen to tour with a version of his band that contains mostly longtime members dating back to the early 1980s. With his recorded output at a relative standstill, we can only hope for a few more doses of his brand of blues rock in the near future.

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