Steve Miller has curated the upcoming box set J50: The Evolution of The Joker, a lavish 50th anniversary celebration of the Steve Miller Band’s classic 1973 album that contained the signature, chart-topping title track.
Set for September 15 release via Sailor/Capitol/UMe, it will be available as both a 3LP + 7″ box and 2CD set, in which the original album tracks are chronologically placed alongside 27 previously unreleased recordings from Miller’s personal archive. These include songwriting tapes made by Miller on his TEAC 4-track in hotel rooms on the road and at live performances, as well as studio outtakes and rehearsals. The previously unissued “Lidi” and “Travelin’” are now available as tasters for the September release.
The set represents a continuous listening experience with narration by the great guitarist and frontman, telling the story and explaining the evolution of each track on the album. Both formats contain liner notes by Miller and writer Anthony DeCurtis, and the box will also feature a reproduction of a vintage iron-on of the celebrated The Joker image and a lithograph.
Both The Joker and its title track single were released in October 1973, with the album climbing to No.2 on Billboard (in a 38-week run on that chart) and No.1 on the Cash Box survey. The unforgettable lead song “The Joker” topped the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1974 and was also a substantial hit in Canada and Australia.
The track reached a new generation when it was prominently featured in a Levi’s commercial in 1990, taking it to No.1 in the UK, when it set a new record for the longest gap between chart-toppers on either side of the Atlantic. It then became a major pan-European hit, also reaching No.1 in the Netherlands and No.2 on the Eurochart Hot 100 of the time.
Pre-order J50: The Evolution of The Joker, which is released on September 15.