Song Lesson: "The Joker" by The Steve Miller Band

In 1966, blues guitarist and singer, Steve Miller left Chicago to start a new band in San Fransisco. The 5-piece group was originally called “The Steve Miller Blues Band,” but they shortened the title to simply “The Steve Miller Band” (a change suggested to the group by Beatles producer, George Martin). Between 1966 and 1972, the band recorded and produced seven studio albums that largely comprised of blues-driven or psychedelic tracks, which collectively garnered moderate levels of acclaim. But in 1973, something magical happened. The Steve Miller Band’s eighth studio album, The Joker, featured a title track that would become the band’s next hit.

Between 1973 and present day, “The Joker,” has topped charts in the US, UK, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Ireland. The song is certified 5X Platinum in the US, and is undoubtedly The Steve Miller Band’s most popular release to date. And as is the case with many chart-topping hits, the song’s music is relatively simple to play. So, let’s join JamPlay educator, D.J. Phillips in learning how to play “The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band on guitar!

About the Song Lesson:

The guitar parts in “The Joker” consist of two acoustic guitar lines, and one electric guitar line. The acoustic guitars are tuned down a whole step, one with a capo on the third fret. The electric guitar parts are played in an open D tuning, and feature a slide and a wah pedal. In his complete JamPlay song lesson, D.J. Phillips breaks down all three guitar parts accurately, so you can learn how The Steve Miller Band actually recorded this timeless hit!


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