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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Miller, Steve (Band) - 1982 Abracadabra / 1983 Live
Miller, Steve (Band) - 1982 Abracadabra / 1983 Live

ARTIST: Miller, Steve (Band)
ALBUM: Abracadabra / Live
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12216 (1982), ST-12263 (1983)
YEAR: 1982/1983
CD REISSUE: Reissue List 'Abracadabra'
1983 'Live' - 1988, Capitol, CDP 7 91315 2 * 1998, Eagle, EAG 075-2


LINEUP: Steve Miller - vocals, guitar * John Massaro - guitar * Kenny Lee Lewis - guitar * Norton Buffalo - harmonica * Byron Allred - keyboards * Gerald Johnson - bass * Gary Mallaber - drums, percussion, keyboards

1982 Abracadabra
01 Keeps Me Wondering Why * 02 Abracadabra * 03 Something Special * 04 Give It Up * 05 Never Say No * 06 Things I Told You * 07 Young Girls Heart * 08 Goodbye Love * 09 Cool Magic *10 While I'm Waiting

1983 - Live
01 Gangster Of Love * 02 Rock 'N Me * 03 Living In The U.S.A. * 04 Fly Like An Eagle * 05 Jungle Love * 06 The Joker * 07 Mercury Blues * 08 Take The Money And Run * 09 Abracadabra * 10 Jet Airliner


The recent 2016 Rock And Roll Hall of Fame inductees saw veteran Steve Miller thrown a gong. For a moment there, I thought he was going to throw it right back at the HoF suits and walk right on out of there! Watching his rant on You Tube reminded me of the time that I (along with many others) listened to his early 80's material. Not quite in the vein of his superior 60's and 70's stuff, but enough for me to piece together a few words about two of his albums during 1982 and 1983.

The Songs
1982 Abracadabra
Miller struck it big with 'Abracadabra'. Everyone remembers the song right.. 'Abra Abracadabra - I wanna reach out and grab ya'. The song went high into the charts, #1 in fact, for a couple of weeks, only to be toppled, then returning to the top spot once more. For me personally, I don't think the song is that exceptional. To me, songs like these represent what the thinking was among the American populous at the time. What was going on in their heads? Who was pervading their headspace like what Donald Trump is doing now in 2016. Surely not Ronald Reagan? A 'johnny on the spot' sort of song. You probably remember the video too? With magicians, hat, pretty girls and tricks.. lol! Well, what of the rest of the songs? Surely this is not a one-hit wonder? Well, from the history books, it would appear that it was, as the two other singles lifted from the album 'Give it Up' and 'Goodbye Love' weren't as successful as the title-track. The opener 'Keeps Me Wondering Why' is a decent enough intro, with some insistent synth parts and a catchy chorus, but apart from that, I found the rest of the album to be quite drab, and this didn't excite me in 1982 as much as Sheriff, Night Ranger and Aldo Nova did.

As it is, I have had this album in my CD collection for years but have rarely played it. What does that say? The only good to come of it is that the royalties must be still be rolling in for Miller, so good on him for that. Time to revert to Miller's 1976 classic' Fly Like An Eagle'.. now there's a song.

1983 Live
Most of the Steve Miller Band material for this live set comes from a Pine Knob (Detroit) performance in late summer 1982. At the time, the band were on the run supporting their 'Abracadabra' album, which was doing the rounds at the time. Thankfully, the songs here represent a greatest hits collection going back into time, and features many of Miller's hits, not just the recent stuff, such as 'Abracadabra'.

All of the regular chestnuts are here. 'Rockin' Me Baby', 'Fly Like An Eagle', 'Jungle Love', 'Jet Airliner' and of course a Steve Miller live set wouldn't be complete without 'The Joker' and 'Take The Money And Run', which sounds like The Eagles lite. All of these songs are held close to their studio equivalents; there's no extended by-play with the audience, except when reference is made to Detroit, and the crowd goes ape.. lol!

The album was released twice more in 1988 and 1993, and made it to #125 in the Billboard charts at the time of its initial 1983 release, so it would appear it wasn't a commercial success; but then again, live albums rarely are, unless you were Peter Frampton. An OK live set, but nowhere near as classic as some of the stuff from the late 70's.

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#1 | gdazegod on May 04 2016 01:51:50
Steve Miller Band - 1982 Abracadabra
YouTube Video:
#2 | Eric on May 05 2016 22:30:20
Agree with both assessments. 'Abracadabra' came out in an extremely difficult time in my life and I still recall those feelings every time I hear it as well as when I hear America's 'You Can Do Magic'. The Live album didn't do much for me either, kind of a cash-in with a cheapo sleeve. I'll stick with his early stuff up through the 70s.
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